View overlooking high point of Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park. (Contributed)

Get Outdoors!: Rewilding can attract desirable wildlife to yards

Lend a hand to the ecosystem by planting native species

Want to attract lovely native birds and butterflies to your yard while helping the environment?

We can help prevent the increasing rate of wildlife extinction caused by habitat destruction. And we can stop poisoning the environment with insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers and pollution-belching mowers simply by planting and landscaping with appropriate native plants in our yards.

There is an unbreakable evolutionary link between native plant species and native wildlife.

Insects are especially linked to foraging on native plants. Our bats and most birds are insectivores. Most butterfly species are dependent on our native plants for nectar and as hosts for their eggs and caterpillars. And caterpillars just happen to be the first and best food for most baby birds.

Gardeners enjoy spending time outdoors with plants and nature to creatively beautify their homes and community while enjoying the healthful benefits of exercise and fresh air. That’s great!

But until recently, almost all gardeners planted exotic plants from other places.

These are “alien” plants; alien to our local ecosystems. Historically, when new countries were being colonized, plants from these exotic places showed off one’s wealth. And grassy lawns became trendy.

There was still lots of wilderness to support wildlife. But our wilderness has been developed into cities and suburbs and for agriculture, industry and roads.

Where can wildlife get their food and shelter?

Sure we have parks, but even these tend to get developed for people’s convenience with roads, facilities, lawns, etc.

With the accelerating pace of development and habitat destruction, the pressures on wildlife are greater than they have ever been. Fortunately, there is still time to reverse this alarming trend, and gardeners have the power to make a significant contribution. By rewilding or naturescaping our landscapes, gardeners can substantially help the environment and provide a welcoming home for wildlife.

This doesn’t mean drastically overhauling your property; it can be a gradual, easy, preferential and enjoyable gardening process. Intact local ecosystems are beautiful and fascinating and are essential to our human health and well-being.

Start by choosing native plants attractive to local native birds, butterflies, bees, etc.

You’ll really be helping the pollinators, and you’ll learn a lot about them and our environment. Imagine — most of Vernon looked like Kalamalka Lake Park until new settlers started changing the landscape more than a century ago.

Native plants often grow easily because they’re already adapted to the local climate and ecology. Using plants that “belong” prevents alien plants from taking over by out competing native plants.

Never remove native plants from the wild. That only allows invasive aliens to set in.

But, if you know of a wild area to be developed, that’s an excellent opportunity to dig up native plants, if you can. You might even be rescuing endangered native plants. Always dig up with lots of native soil around the roots. Also help our nurseries sell native plants by asking for them.

Pollinatorpartnership.ca is an excellent guide to help you choose plants for pollinators by ecoregion. For this area choose the Thompson-Okanagan Plateau. The guides are extremely detailed yet easy to read and visually beautiful. Note: Most provinces have one-to-four ecoregions; B.C. has 13!

Bringing Nature Home by Douglas W. Tallamy is a delightfully interesting, insightful and inspiring book about easily protecting and restoring our environment that everyone should read. Discover the basics and importance of ecology to restore habitats with food and shelter for pollinators. Lots of great photos and practical information. Our library has it.

The Allan Brooks Nature Centre can help, too.

Roseanne Van Ee shares her knowledge of the outdoors to help readers experience and enjoy nature. Follow her on Facebook for more.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Okanagan farmers’ markets excited to welcome artisans back amid COVID-19

Provincial health officer announced non-food items to return to markets this weekend

COVID-19: Coldstream district office set to open

Safety measures in place to protect staff, public upon June 1 reopening

Armstrong council reopens meetings to public at theatre

New location will allow appropriate physical distancing amid COVID-19 pandemic

Promoting downtown Vernon businesses the focus for 2020: DVA

Downtown Vernon Association holds AGM, plans to support biz move through pandemic

Bear fails to interrupt golfers in Vernon

‘It definitely was hard to putt with a bear that close, but we got it done’

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Parts of the TCT through Princeton will open to motorized vehicles Monday

Parts of the KVR trail through Princeton will open for motorized vehicles… Continue reading

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Mother duck and babies rescued from Highway 97 in Lake Country

The mother and nine ducklings were taken to Duck Lake

Chef brings farm-to-table approach to new Shuswap restaurant

Darren Bezanson opening Bistro 1460 at Hilltop Inn

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

Most Read