Create Your Own Ecosystem at Home this Weekend!

Create Your Own Ecosystem at Home this Weekend!

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Create an eco-system in your backyard that every bird and bee will want to hang out in.
Monday, April 12, 2010 - 2:44pm


Ecosystem trashed in your backyard? Years of lawns, fertilizers, pesticides, soil erosion, and deforestation? Are the only wildlife you see pigeons, rats and La Cucaracha? Are all the birds in nearby trees black and songless? Don’t despair! OK, go ahead and despair, but then get over it and get into gear! You can create our own vibrant ecosystem at home this weekend! It’s not like instant coffee - it takes some work and time. But the investment you make today will pay off for the rest of your life and beyond.

Your backyard used to be wilderness, remember, and it can head that way again with a little encouragement. It’s still part of a larger ecosystem that sustains plant and animal species right now, so every bit you do to help your corner, helps the whole system. Humans and wildlife lived together in relative balance for most of history- we can do so again with some intelligent intervention on our part. Even a few small changes will attract wildlife to your yard.

Our Greenopolis Partner National Wildlife Foundation will certify your backyard if you have sufficient plants, food, shelter and water sources for wildlife. We found plans for building your own back yard ecosystem as well on Charity Guide and on eHow. Here’s the basics.

First, it helps to have a back yard, but if you live on the 37th floor of a high rise in the Bronx, don’t give up- window boxes, feeders, plants on a rooftop all help. Do what you can, right where you are. There have been wild turkeys seen roosting on high-rise balconies in Manhattan. All is not lost. Here’s what Audubon Society considers a healthy yard. You are probably closer than you might think.
Start by planting a variety of native flowers and plants. Find out which plants are native to your area. Native species resist drought and foster natural pest control. Diversity in flowering plants will provide more “wildlife niches” and further curb pest problems.

Make sure the wildlife you are inviting to move in have a source of clean water, whether a bird bath or a pond. If you’ve got space, a healthy pond will establish an aquatic ecosystem in your backyard, complete with fish, plants, frogs and dragon flies. Once established it’s pretty self-sufficient and requires only routine maintenance.

Grow a garden. Again, think local and native. A garden ecosystem feeds humans and animals and nourishes the soil. Use homemade compost to naturally  fertilize your garden. Create shelter for animals to hide from prey and raise their young. Nesting boxes for birds, native shrubs and even small brush piles provide cover for small mammals.

Stop, stop, stop- using conventional pesticides. Use natural toxins like mint oil with care or better, just allow your ecosystem to do the pest control for you. If you can tolerate some insects, the safest option for members of your backyard habitat and your family is to let nature take its course. When the birds, dragonflies, and frogs you’re attracting get settled, they’ll do an amazing job of keeping the bugs down. Put up a bat house and create shelter and past control.

Register your backyard with the National Wildlife Federation. You get a cool certificate, a sign for your yard and a story in the local paper. An opportunity to educate neighbors and extend the ecosystem beyond your yard.

Then sit back, pop an organic free range local beer, and enjoy the parade of wildlife that will start moving in. Feel good about yourself - you gave Ma Nature and a bunch of her children a helping hand.

For more information on creating eco-systems and tips for greening your yard, visit the original blog post. is dedicated to our users. We focus our attention on changing the world through recycling, waste-to-energy and conservation. We reward our users for their sustainable behaviors on our website, through our Greenopolis Tracking Stations and with curbside recycling programs.