Celebrate World Nature Conservation Day! Make choices now for the sake of the Earth’s future and generations to come. Conserve water, garden for biodiversity with native plants and habitat restoration, and use pesticides and fertilizers responsibly to reduce runoff and pollution.
July 28th was World Nature Conservation Day. Making choices now for the sake of the Earth’s future and generations to come involves protecting and conserving natural resources like water, plants, air, soil, and more.
So, what does wise management and sustainable use of resources look like? It’s a big question, but the answer can begin in your backyard. Let’s take a look at how you can contribute to nature conservation in your landscaping and gardening.
Excessive water usage contributes to runoff, wastes an essential natural resource, can make plants vulnerable to pest infestations, and costs you more money in utilities! Here are some steps you can take to conserve water:
- Select drought-tolerant native plants
- Turn on your hose or sprinklers only when plants and lawn visibly need water
- Position sprinklers to spray the garden and lawn, not your driveway or street
- Add mulch to garden beds to help the soil retain moisture
Biodiversity gardening is planning a garden that increases and supports native biodiversity and creating a space that attracts, feeds, and shelters native wildlife.
A true biodiversity garden should be made up entirely of native plants. Why?
- Non-native plant species are sometimes invasive, outnumbering native species and outcompeting them for necessary nutrients. The result is often declining native plant populations.
- Native plants are accustomed to your area’s climate and soil conditions. This means they need less supplemental irrigation, fertilization, and soil amending, conserving resources and saving you time, money, and energy.
- Non-native plants generally do not provide adequate food or habitat to native animals, insects, and fungi, while native plants do.
Native plants and animals are native for a reason! They do not require additional support to thrive in the environment and prevent the unnecessary use of resources. And the more native plants you have in your garden, the more food and shelter you provide to beneficial birds, insects, and other critters and organisms.
Habitat restoration is a second critical aspect of biodiversity gardening. No need to overhaul your property, though. Simple habitat restoration efforts can be very effective in supporting native and beneficial animals.
- Include a small woodpile that will host bees, lizards, fungi, and more.
- Rocks placed here and there in sunny areas of your property will shelter insects and animals or provide homes for native snakes.
- Water sources like a birdbath or fountain (or pond or stream, if you’re lucky) attracts and supports birds and other wildlife.
Responsible Pesticide and Fertilizer Use
Pollution is a significant threat to Earth’s natural resources, and runoff entering our water systems greatly contributes to this. You can limit your participation in water pollution by adjusting your habits when it comes to pesticide and fertilizer use.
Start from the ground up—a biodiverse garden attracts beneficial birds and insects that will help with natural pest control, and pesticide use can harm helpful wildlife. If you do need to address a pest issue, begin with hand-picking them from plants. If necessary, select a gentle, low-toxicity substance like insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.
If you choose to fertilize, do your research. Identify what nutrients your plants need and how much, and carefully read instructions before applying.
We Can Do This!
If every person makes an effort to use resources responsibly, imagine the worldwide change we can make! Let’s keep our planet healthy and beautiful—for our grandkids and their grandkids.