We’ve been interested in learning how to create a DIY wildlife habitat in our back yard ever since 2011, when we first wrote about it. But it wasn’t until our self-imposed 6-month break from travel that we had the time to do the manual labor involved in transforming our suburban yard into a haven for nature and wildlife.
It all started in March with GGT writer Jonathan Engels’ Permaculture Garden Guide, which offered simple step-by-step instructions for us to follow. We tilled the soil by hand, added compost and mulch from the woods behind our yard, lined the beds with fallen pine logs, made worm towers, and used organic fertilizer to improve soil quality without harmful chemicals.
We covered more than half our yard with cardboard to kill weeds and grass, then covered it with pine straw. We surrounded the yard with flowering plants to attract bees and butterflies. We added a birdbath, and feeders for regular birds and hummingbirds. We pruned the overgrown fruit trees and created a massive pile in the back of our property, to provide shelter from predators.
We’ve still got a good bit of work left to do, but the results we’ve seen in just 6 short weeks are pretty amazing. Our first-ever garden is flourishing, with enough fruits, vegetables and herbs growing to feed our family for the second half of this year. We find ourselves working and eating outside more than ever, enjoying Atlanta’s wonderfully temperate Spring weather.
But the unexpected benefit of our work has been the increasingly frequent wildlife sightings we’ve seen in our back yard over the last few days. There have been hundreds of birds, including Hawks, Woodpeckers, and a Great Blue Egret flying overhead.
We discovered a Possum living in one corner of our yard and an adorable pair of Chipmunks living on the opposite side. We’ve seen Tree Frogs, Skinks, and this handsome Lizard, who sunned himself atop our wheelbarrow yesterday. And the grand total of our investment, including all the plants, fertilizer, pine straw, an electric chain saw, and a tree pruning tool, has been less than $400.
It’s been a lot of work, to be sure. But the cost and labor involved in creating a certified wildlife habitat has paid off in spades, making our back yard a much more enjoyable space for our family. And the fact that we can grow our own food while also providing a haven for these animals just makes the process all the more rewarding. –Bret Love
If you enjoyed reading about the Benefits of a Certified Wildlife Habitat, you may also like:
GO GREEN TIP #114: DIY Permaculture Garden Guide
GO GREEN TIP #108: Using Permaculture Principles in Travel
GO GREEN TIP #99: How to Make a DIY Vertical Garden
GO GREEN TIP 97# : DIY Rainwater Harvesting Tips
GO GREEN TIP #91: How To Attract Birds To Your Garden
GO GREEN TIP #87: How To Compost At Home
GO GREEN TIP #60: How to Create a DIY Wildlife Habitat
The woes of the world’s fresh water supply are proving increasingly problematic. Aquifers are drying up. Due to rising temperatures, snowpack is failing to provide enough sustainable surface supply. Municipal water sources have moved beyond questionable to full-on toxic. Because we all depend on H20 to live, learning how to save water has never been more important.
In short, we need to pool our efforts and begin working to combat water waste. Wherever we may live, if we think of water conservation as a choice rather than a necessity, we’re likely consuming far more than the average global citizen. And while we might not be able to fix the water issues plaguing the planet at large, we can each do our part to maintain this vital resource.
Whether water conservation is new to you or something that you are hoping to delve into deeper, here are some simple tips on how to save water that everyone can use…
A permaculture garden differs from other modern farming techniques because its focus is on more than merely growing food.
Permaculture practitioners seek to find balances between the give and take of nature– animals included– and the needs of humanity. From sustainable homes and renewable energy sources to food forests, the permaculture movement is about much more than gardening.
However, creating your own permaculture garden is not a bad way to start down the road to sustainable living. It was how my wife Emma and I began, and how we like to introduce and share the practice.
So here, I’m going to walk you step b y step through the process and show you how you can start your own permaculture garden.
(The following is a guest post from Justin Carmack of True Nomads, which focuses on his diving adventures around the world. You can follow Justin on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. If you’re a blogger interested in guest posting, please email us [email protected])
Rare Sharks are beautiful and amazing to see in their own habitat. But, most importantly, they are apex predators, making them a vital link in the marine ecosystem’s food chain.
It’s the shark’s job to regulate populations of fish by preying on the weak, slow, and old among the schools. If these rare sharks were to disappear, it would begin a devastating domino effect. The whole marine eco chain would collapse one layer at a time, eventually killing off humans.
Without sharks to feed on them, fish populations would explode. If there are too many fish, the species they feed on would slowly disappear, eventually killing them off completely. This would eliminate another food source and kill off the rest of the fish in the food chain, all the way down to microorganisms, plankton and algae.
Did you know that plankton and algae are the number one producer of oxygen in the world? More than even the Amazon Rainforest! It’s also the biggest natural carbon-scrubber/eliminator/filter on the planet.
Starting to get the picture? Over time, if we were to let human greed and apathy kill off rare sharks, the chain reaction could be catastrophic, leading to more greenhouse gases, global warming, and possibly the end of mankind. The first step to stop this catastrophe is education, so here is a look at five rare shark species worth saving:
One of the questions we get asked most frequently by our readers involves how to choose a responsible tour operator, eco lodge or green hotel.
Research shows that global interest in ecotourism (which was defined by The International Ecotourism Society as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people”) has grown rapidly in recent years.
According to the Center For Responsible Travel’s 2015 Travel Trends & Statistics report, around one in five consumers (21%) say they would be willing to pay more for a trip with a company that has a better environmental and social record.
A 2012 report by The Travel Foundation found that 66% of travelers surveyed would like to be able to identify a “greener” holiday more easily. And 84% of those working in travel PR/marketing see “green” credentials becoming increasingly important in the near future.
Unfortunately, these sorts of stats attract a good bit of greenwashing from profit-driven people looking to cash in on the eco-friendly movement. So how do you find a responsibly managed eco lodge when you travel? And what’s the difference between an eco lodge and a green hotel?
Read on for the answers, and a brief guide to some of the most acclaimed eco lodges around the world…