Don't forget, you can map local wilderness areas too! Map your favorite hiking trails, camping spots, or picnic areas and document the plants and wildlife you see. This week's map highlight comes from San Diego, CA and shows us how large natural areas are crucial to urban areas, not just for wildlife but also for recreation, health and well-being, and the many ecosystem services we may not always recognize.
In the Northeast, it is called Juneberry and reflects when the berries are ripe. In the South, it’s Serviceberry when blossoms predict a thawed ground for burial services, or Shadbush, timed with the Shad fish running upstream to spawn. It is Amelanchier, a native tree all across the U.S. and, for many birds, the early blossoms mean insects for food and berries for summer foraging. Want to know more about where you live? Citizen Science can connect you.
Seeing and hearing warblers is a sure sign of spring. The more we learn about bird migration, the more we wonder. Some warblers appear to prefer farms over forests for their wintering habitat. Which may lead us to ask, do farms provide safe habitat for birds? See Habitat Network for ideas of how to garden without using pesticides to provide safer habitat for all wildlife: http://content.yardmap.org/learn/insecticides/
What can you tell me about where you live? Beyond the address, what makes the space you inhabit, the place that you live. Explore this new article from Habitat Network and let citizen-science projects help you re-discover you own backyard.
Our gardens and yards have incredible potential to support a variety of wildlife and this week's map highlight is an excellent example of diversity. Habitat Network's planning tool can show you how important and interconnected your efforts are and can provide some ideas for more ways to increase the birds, butterflies, and other beautiful wildlife in your yard: http://content.yardmap.org/learn/planning-tool/
Build habitat and the wildlife will come...
This spring consider adding native plants to your landscape. The birds, bees, butterflies, etc, will thank you!
Creating your plant list for spring yard additions? Find out which type of elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is native to your region and add some. This plant is amazing for wildlife and humans, alike!
Featured map this week from Lake County, Florida gets major kudos for creating edible gardens, flowerbeds, shrubbery, and maintaining forest patches instead of having lawn! If you are on a mission to minimize your lawn, we'll help: http://content.yardmap.org/learn/removing-lawn-to-make-way-for-more-habitat/
Our yards are our habitats too. When we design for ourselves as well as wildlife, our yard becomes a place of comfort and peace, accomplishment and pride, and a resource, not just for habitat but for education, outreach, and awareness too. This week's map highlight brings you the joys of personal touches that provide habitat, along with a sense of wonder and curiosity. Explore the intricate and resourceful world of this magical garden
Farmers around the world are finding excellent sources of pest control living amongst and above us...birds. Creating habitat for predatory birds is an excellent way to minimize insect and small mammal damage on crops. Researchers at Michigan State University notably studied the role the American Kestrel can play in minimizing populations of grasshoppers, small rodents, and European Starlings that impact orchard yields in Michigan.
Our map this week comes from McMinn County, Tennessee. This mapper is committed to supporting pollinators and birds. Specific areas are designated as "pollinator gardens", while the 20+ species of birds are likely attracted to all the native plants, birdfeeders and birdbath. Large portions of the land are kept in meadow and forest--another attribute that likely attracts and supports a large diversity of birds.
Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers are genetically different species. They, however, share very similar feather coloration and patterns. Why would these two species, with overlapping ranges, who are regulars at our suet feeders, express this similarity? Turns out data submitted by citizen scientists through Project FeederWatch is helping us to better understand this question.
This week's map highlight comes from Orange, VT and features a diverse patchwork landscape complete with shrublands, meadows, ponds, and gardens. The very small, pollinator-friendly lawn is mowed by sheep and scythe (so cool!), which allows pollinators and other wildlife time to move out of the way.
Are you an educator looking for something fun to do with your students this spring? Consider mapping your school campus with your students to get a better sense of the habitat available (or not) and learn about the school's land management practices.
Removing lawn and replacing with native vegetation is a sure bet for supporting pollinators and reducing fertilizers and pesticides. This week's map highlight comes from Dane, WI. and shows us how, over time, a large lawn can be reduced to an area that is important to your recreation. Removing lawn is an excellent way to Pitch in a Patch for Pollinators. Visit http://content.yardmap.org/special-pages/pitch-patch-pollinators/ for lawn removing advice and other ideas on how you can pitch in!