April 22 is Earth Day and we think that’s something to celebrate. Sage Creek, from inception, has set high environmental standards to ensure the community maintains a diverse landscape with wetlands, native grasses and everything essential to sustaining a rich environment in our community.
Earth day is dedicated to inspiring and supporting Canadians to connect with nature and build a resilient community. This campaign focuses on spending more time outside and what better way to do so than right in our very own community, right in your backyard, planting for our environment.
Last year, we launched a series that uncovered ways to plant and grow a garden that is wildlife-friendly. We focused on 5 key areas–food, water, shelter, green gardening, and native plants–that the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) defines as the best practices to make a difference to the health of wildlife living in and around Winnipeg.
Here is a recap from the series so you can continue your efforts into another season.
When looking to plant, our first instinct isn’t to turn to native plants because some people find it can look messy or un-manicured. But, by incorporating wildflowers and grasses you’re letting your space return to its most natural state. They help enhances your property and bring greater balance to your yard and neighbourhood. Not to mention they provide exceptional benefits.
Benefits to planting native plants
- less susceptible to disease and pests
- reduces or eliminates the need for pesticides
- helps meet the needs of local wildlife
- provides wildlife essential nutrition
- thrives on the natural habitat reducing the need to water and fertilize
For more information, read “Wildlife-Friendly Gardening Tips: Native Plants”
We all need water to survive, including plants and animals. That’s why ensuring there are proper water sources are important. There are different ways to incorporate water features into your yard– naturally or a do it yourself style.
For a natural approach, Sage Creek has many wetlands that help create a healthier neighbourhood. For a DIY project, creating a pond or recirculating stream to accommodate a variety of species or even a small bird bath is beneficial for wildlife. Another feature most people don’t think to add are sound effects. This can be adding a fountain into your pond to make the area more enticing for bird to visit your yard.
Benefits to adding water features
- provide shelter and food for wildlife
- filtering pollutants from the water
For more information, read “Wildlife-Friendly Gardening Tips: Water Features”
Shelter for wildlife comes in all shapes, sizes and materials. Animals look for a place to raise a family, so a rock piles provide a great location as well as flower garden or wild areas in a corner for butterflies or a patch of bare ground for certain bees. There are also supplementary shelters like bird feeders and bat boxes to welcome wildlife to your backyard.
Benefits to adding shelter
- protect wildlife from extreme temperatures, rain and other harsh weather
- allows wildlife to hide from predators
- gives them places to safely raise their young
For more information, read “Wildlife-Friendly Gardening Tips: Shelter”
Incorporating a diverse range of plants, some that can even survive our harsh seasons, in your landscaping plan can make it easy for wildlife to find food. Think about planting evergreens and deciduous trees, shrubs, grasses, vines and perennials/flowers, which all provide essential nourishment to wildlife. In addition, feeders can help wildlife survive during harsher weather– just make sure they are in a safe spot and kept clean.
Benefits to adding water features
- provide food for wildlife
- pollen for pollinating animals
For more information, read “Wildlife-Friendly Gardening Tips: Providing Food”
How you build your garden and choose to nourish it is essential for the growth of your plants. Green gardening is another area the Canadian Wildlife Federation focuses on to have Canadians creating earth-friendly, organic, and environmentally-friendly gardens.
To create a green garden, try minimizing your water usage, consider composting your kitchen and yard waste to keep it out of the landfill and instead provide nourishment for your soil. You can also practice companion planting, which means planting herbs, vegetables and flowering plants in certain combinations to maximize nutrient intake.
Benefits to adding green gardening
- strengthen plants
- reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers
- minimize toxic leachate that occurs in landfills
For more information, read “Wildlife-Friendly Gardening Tips: Green Gardening”
Get your yard certified
The Canadian Wildlife Federation has a Backyard Certification Program where you’re able to gain official status, and not to mention personal satisfaction, for helping local and migratory wildlife, including species at risk, right in your own backyard. The program encourages a well-rounded approach that includes natural features which support a diversity of wildlife.
To get certified, the CWF looks to see if your outdoor space meets the needs of wildlife and provides a full list of details on their website.