Diary of an Urban Wild Garden: Backyard Bees

On the door of my study hangs a poster of the backyard bees of North America and often when I’m thinking, my eyes fall on this poster and I lose my train of thought as I examine the multitude of bees. My thoughts turn to the many bees I’ve watched in my wildlife garden and how each year, more and more show up as the plants mature and I add new native flowers.

Butterflies, moths, beetles – they come and go and I can’t be guaranteed seeing them on any given day, but bees, they are always there and I can go out anytime from spring to autumn and know I will find them. My yard isn’t large, but I’ve followed the advice of the Continue reading →

Wildlife Habitat Certification

Wildlife habitat certification is offered through many organizations as a way of creating, improving and monitoring wildlife habitats both nationally and regionally. They also come in a variety of settings from backyards to commercial sites to golf courses and entire communities. Some programs offer incentives and assistance while others offer tips and advice and yet others are for science. Although many are focused on birds as the main wildlife species, they all improve habitat for many species.

There are many reasons to certify a habitat, one is simply for recognition of the wildlife habitat. Another reason is to educate neighbors and create awareness of why a yard looks ‘different’ from others in the neighborhood. Certified yards may start conversations about the importance and benefits of wildlife habitat. Certification and signs also encourage others to create wildlife habitat and sets an example….

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Round Lake Area Public Library Wildlife Habitat


In the northeast corner of Illinois you can find the city of Round Lake and the Round Lake Area Public Library. The courtyard at the library has been landscaped and is a certified wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. I recently contacted the library to find out more about their habitat and Debbie Allen, the Head of Youth Services was kind enough to respond. She helps take care of the courtyard and was responsible for getting it certified. At the end of the interview enjoy a slideshow of images of the courtyard through the seasons, kindly provided by Debbie Allen. I hope more libraries follow this example. What an excellent opportunity for nature education!

How was it decided to create wildlife habitat in your courtyard and to get it certified?

I have a background in Earth Science and Conservation and do nature programs at the library so the…

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