To honor the 50th anniversary of Earth Day this week, we offer ways to attract and support wildlife in your own garden or backyard.
If you can’t go to them, bring them to you!
Gardens offer a retreat from the hectic world, right outside your back door. They provide an outlet for artistic expression and connect us to natural beauty that can be enjoyed year-round.
Creating a backyard retreat with some or all of the elements listed below will greatly increase the diversity of wildlife in your backyard.
Creating a garden that behaves like a native plant community has the potential to reduce maintenance and provide a healthy habitat that supports wildlife. A shady woodland garden with trees, shrubs, and a vegetated ground layer provides shelter for numerous wildlife. Opossums, for instance, prefer wooded areas to feed and raise their young. A study completed in New York determined that in a single season, one opossum can kill and eat 5,000 ticks. That makes them one marvelous marsupial. The forest habitat pictured above in the Museum Park is being managed for invasive species and replanted with plants native to the Piedmont region of North Carolina.
Provide Nesting Habitat
You can also provide nesting habitat by adding a bluebird house to your backyard. Bluebirds are veracious insectivores. The best location for their house is along a tree line adjacent to an open area. The photograph above was captured by a park ranger in the Museum Park. Early morning along the upper meadow trail is the best time to watch bluebirds perch on tall blades of grass and swoop to catch a grasshopper midair.
Nearly all birds in North Carolina rely on insects to feed their young. Insects transfer energy from plants to other animals that do not eat plants directly.
Bottom line: If you want to attract birds to your yard, you must provide them their primary food source—insects.
All wildlife need water to survive. Water features such as rain gardens and ponds are a great way to attract birds like the great blue heron seen below fishing at the stormwater pond in the Museum Park. The addition of aquatic plants to a water feature is essential to attract dragonflies to your garden. One dragonfly can catch between 30 and 100 mosquitoes in a single day.
Through video, photography, sculpture, and mixed-media works, the 14 contemporary artists in Fault Lines focus on current environmental concerns and offer new perspectives that make us think.
Now’s the perfect time to spend an afternoon in the Museum Park, where nature’s works of art are showing off.
The NCMA’s Moses T. Alexander Greene sits down with SECCA’s guest curator Duane Cyrus to talk about the diversity of Blackness, diversity in the arts, and how museums should foster both to create a sense of belonging and joy for all.