Beyond Your Backyard

Conserving Wildlife in North Georgia
Founded in 1992, Butterfly Farms was established as a naturalized, safe place for songbirds, butterflies and other diverse wildlife. Having met the basic requirements of providing food, water, cover and places to raise young, Butterfly Farms has been rewarded with national recognition through the National Wildlife Federation certification process. Much of the landscaping was planned with the needs of wildlife in mind and now serves as a relaxing stop-over for many forms of nature and wildlife.

Genetic diversity is very important for healthy plant populations. Such diversity results from transporting pollen from pollinators such as insects, birds and bats. Their pollination service provides us with much of the produce we humans need and enjoy. Sadly, pollinators as a group are on the decline worldwide.

The earth is a great teacher to those who take the time to listen. It is no surprise that in less that 200 years, more damage has been done to this planet than in the previous 200,000.

Habitat areas which appear as inhospitable to the untrained eye become beautiful, cascading sprays of pink Fairy Roses and Bridal Wreath Spirea each Spring. Such flowering shrubs mature into safe nesting areas for numerous types of wildlife. What keeps habitat functioning in our backyards, on coral reefs, or mid-canopy in a rain forest, however, are the smaller wildlife species. Too often, building our homes and expanding our communities have led to the destruction of natural habitat.

Shown to the right is actually a very tall weed! The definition of a weed is a plant growing somewhere not wanted. This one is called Joe-pye (E. fistulosum) and blooms in August to September. This one kind of plant attracts over 20-30 species of these two-winged wonders. Through the National Wildlife Federation, we have learned how to attract dozens of butterfly species by the larval food plants encouraged to grow. With predators in search for catapillars (like birds) and predators after birds (such as neighboring cats) and predators after bird nest eggs (like raccoons), it is amazing how anything survives. Imagine how much more difficult it is when combined with pesticides. Please don't use them unless absolutely necessary. Prevention is the key to most problematic situations.

The amateur can, with imagination and persistence, select and solve problems. In these higher aspirations, the important thing is not to achieve, but to strive.

Hope you've enjoyed this brief synopsis of what takes place around Butterfly Farms. It's highly rewarding educating people about what they can to to restore wildlife habitats in their communities and to preserve existing wildlife spaces! Click here to e-mail for further information on becoming a habitat steward! Complete information kits can be requested directly through NWF for $12.95 plus shipping. Info and kits can also be obtained through any Wild Birds Unlimited Store. Before you go, want to see something Really Awesome? Check out and take a peek at what our hawk lady friend, Monteen, is doing!

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