Cooperating with backyard conservation policies could bring the vitality of nature to your window, like this view of a female northern cardinal feeding on hawthorn tree berries in the winter.
PHOTO: STEVE MASLOSKI/BACKYARD CONSERVATION
A national initiative is under way to encourage America's homeowners — whether rural, suburban, or urban — to make one million backyards a "friendlier place for nature."
A joint effort of the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Backyard Conservation project is designed to educate private homeowners — who control some 92 million acres of developed land in the U.S. — about simple, inexpensive conservation measures they can put to work in their own backyards. "It's amazing what a few of the right plants or trees will do for nesting birds and other wildlife," says WHC President William W. Howard.
At the center of the Backyard Conservation project is a 28-page booklet, mailed free upon request, that gives basic how-to advice on ten specific topics: tree planting, wildlife habitat, backyard ponds, backyard wetlands, composting, mulching, nutrient management, terracing, water conservation, and pest management. The booklet also describes how the nation's farmers and ranchers have used these practices for decades to help ensure clean air and water, fertile, productive land, and no- or low-chemical pest control.
To receive a copy of the Backyard Conservation booklet, dial 888-LAND-CARE. Not only is the booklet brimming with helpful hints, it also contains some of the most stunning, vibrant photographs of backyard wildlife you'll ever lay eyes on. The authors also provide a list of contacts for more in-depth information on each of the topics covered.
More information on the Backyard Conservation project is available at the NRCS website.