Jess Taylor and Natalie Ringeis of Love the Green Life Org taught me about building a certified wildlife habitat in our own backyard today! This is such a cool and simple way to not only help wildlife, but to actually become friends with the animals that we share our space with here on earth.
Jess and Natalie run their non-profit out of Akron, Ohio and are both moms and teachers who are very passionate about helping the environment. They take their sweet, funny and down to earth attitudes to the air with their podcast, and offer classes for those who are interested in plant based eating.
Today we dig into the tactics of actually creating a certified wildlife habitat ourselves. Jess and Natalie walk me through what they did in their yards and convince us that this is actually really easy. Imagine how many animals we can help if we each do this in our spaces!
Please comment below or tag me on Instagram @ForAnimalsForEarth if you do this and receive your certification. I would love to celebrate together!
4 Simple Ideas to Connect with Wildlife:
1. SPEND 15 MINUTES IN THE BACKYARD. Take coffee, a journal, a coloring book, etc. and observe. What do we see, hear, smell? Who shares this space with us? Encourage kids to draw what they see or hear. Use this as a starting point to build a certified wildlife habitat that genuinely helps the animals in our yard.
2. CONTACT LOCAL DIVISION OF WILDLIFE. Reach out to our local ranger station, naturalist, state or national park office, even the parks and recreation department. Ask them for advice. What animals should we help in our area? What should we do to help them?
3. MOBILIZE THE COMMUNITY. We can create a project in our community to help local animals as well. This could be something like a pollinator garden for bees or butterflies. Or something more involved for birds or larger wildlife. A rooftop garden is a great idea for an apartment complex or city dwelling.
4. CREATE A CERTIFIED WILDLIFE HABITAT. We provide an outline and the links you need below. This is probably easier than you think. Try it out!
What is a Certified Wildlife Habitat?
Initiated by the National Wildlife Federation, a Certified Wildlife Habitat is a way of giving back to the wildlife around us. We can create this habitat within the small area of land that we own, even an apartment balcony. It gives local animals good sources of cover, food, water, a place to raise young, and an area that is sustainable.
How to Build a Certified Wildlife Habitat?
Provide sources in the following 5 focus areas. These are ideas that Jess and Natalie shared from their yards:
1. COVER (2 sources) – places to shelter from bad weather or hide from predators (bird house, roosting box, rock pile or wall, toad house, sea shells for little critters)
2. FOOD (3 sources) – native plants (seeds, nuts, berries, nectar, wildflowers) or supplemental natural food sources (bird feeders, deer feeders, squirrel feeders – need to keep them clean)
3. WATER (1 source) – for drinking, bathing, or breeding (deep or shallow bird baths, ponds, streams, water dish on patio – need to keep them clean)
4. PLACE TO RAISE YOUNG (2 sources) – to reproduce, protect and nourish their young (trees or shrubs, caterpillar host plants, pond, bird nesting boxes, toad house, bat box – find specific specifications for our different areas)
5. SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES (2 sources) – maintain naturally, to ensure that soil, water and air stay clean and healthy (limit water usage, compost, use mulch, reduce pavement with natural vegetation, install rain barrel, weed out invasive plants, keep cats indoors, eliminate chemical pesticides and fertilizers, attract beneficial insects)
6. APPLY FOR CERTIFICATION – at nwf.org, we can officially apply for certification and get our cool new sign!
Other Interesting Links:
WATCH THE EPISODE:
Closed captioning transcript included in video. Subscribe on YouTube.
About Jess & Natalie:
Jess Taylor and Natalie Ringeis are both teachers, mamas, nature lovers and passionate about changing the world we live in and helping to save the planet by inspiring others. They grew up in Northeast Ohio and have a love for the area, community and wildlife.
ABOUT LOVE THE GREEN LIFE:
Love The Green Life is a 501c3 non profit organization that promotes cruelty free, chemical free and compassionate living. They provide education to the community by giving real life, practical ways to live a more sustainable, healthy and green life. They share this through a weekly podcast, annual virtual summit and an online plant-based lifestyle coaching program!