Tips to help kids create a wildlife habitat garden
Garden for Wildlife is a beautiful and impactful new native plant collection from the National Wildlife Federation designed to help gardeners across the U.S. “plant with a purpose” and turn their own backyard into a fabulous wildlife habitat!
How fun would it be to create a butterfly garden with kids – in their own backyard!
Habitat destruction, pesticide use, and climate change have all led to a troubling decline of bees and other pollinators. But the good news is that small gardens are just as important as big ones in conservation. Moreover, through Garden for Wildlife, home growers can make a real difference by nurturing the local bees, butterflies, and birds.
Toddlers through teens can plant seeds, water, weed, and care for a garden!
Mary Phillips, Senior Director, Garden for Wildlife says You can help children create a wildlife habitat garden right outside their door and introduce them to the wonders of the natural world.
Gardening for wildlife allows children an immediate way to make a real difference for wildlife and the environment. Adults can help and engage children with these Tips to help kids create a wildlife habitat garden
Ask children what sort of wildlife they want to invite to the garden. This will help you identify what plants to include and if the garden should be located in sun or shade. For example, if they love Monarch butterflies, you’ll need to plant milkweed and nectar plants, salamanders, on the other hand, require old logs and moist areas.
Identify a designated spot for the garden where children are free to dig, plant and explore with a quiet seat for observing wildlife.
Personalize the garden by building or decorating bird houses, stepping stones or artwork. Building toad houses and feeders connect children to the space they help create. Children can integrate natural play spaces through the use of natural materials and children’s sculpture.
Help children pick a few budding or blooming native plants from the Garden for Wildlife Collection by National Wildlife Federation. Make sure plants have nectar to attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators. Help children understand why habitat gardening is important and that they are part of a special group of people nationwide helping to replace “animal homes” (a.k.a. milkweed gardens) that have disappeared.
Plant fragrant, colorful, textured native plants along with herbs. Add grasses for movement and a water feature for light and sound. Kids will love it and wildlife will too, as these elements provide animals with food, cover, and water.
Grab a magnifying glass, garden journal and pencils. Help kids keep notes, draw pictures, or take photos in the garden to track the animals that visit and reinforce what they have learned.
Using this guide, encourage your child to identify what habitat elements might be missing and how to add them. When all elements are included it is eligible to Certify as a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat®.