Community Wildlife Habitat

Community Wildlife Habitat Initiative

The Lancaster Conservancy’s Community Wildlife Habitat initiative is a volunteer led effort that works with local property owners and organizations to encourage planting native plants, trees, and gardens that reduce stormwater runoff while providing habitat and food for wildlife and pollinators. The National Wildlife Federation has certified more than 568 sites including yards, schools, businesses, community gardens, parks, and places of worship. Each of these sites provides the four basic elements that all wildlife need to thrive: food, water, cover and places to raise young, while integrating sustainable gardening and landscaping practices.

With a critical mass of certified gardens the goal is to create corridors for wildlife to thrive!

To learn more about the program or to have someone visit your property please email Linda Ferich at lferich@lancasterconservancy.org.

Protecting & Restoring Native Habitat

Lancaster Conservancy works to protect our region’s remaining natural lands and then care for them through special projects and ongoing maintenance that restores native habitats and manages invasive species.

Creating Habitat at Home

Creating native habitat can be done in a few simple steps that are good for the environment and have curb appeal.  You can start by planting several native plants each year, pulling out the invasive plants and strategically placing a tree in order to capture water.

Native plants are at the heart of a pollinator-friendly garden providing food and host plant benefits beyond what most non-native plants can offer in any landscape.  There are over 2,100 PA native plants of many colors, shapes and sizes attracting a variety of pollinators like bees, butterflies, beetles, and moths to perform their essential pollination services. Pollinators play a critical role in the reproduction of 90% of all flowering plants, and are involved in the production of about one out of every three bites of food that humans eat.

BENEFITS OF NATIVE PLANTS

• Critical to pollinators (birds, bees & other insects)
• More adaptable to area
• Requires less water for maintenance
• Absorption of water increases
• Keeps pollutants and sediment out of the water
• Increases wildlife habitat
• Increases air quality

RAIN GARDENS

Rain gardens are simple solutions to capture and retain stormwater close to the source, preventing polluted runoff. The average quarter acre lot (with a 2,500 square foot home) can contribute over 5,000 gallons of polluted runoff in a single 1 inch rainfall event.

BENEFITS OF RAIN GARDENS

• Manage the rain water where it falls allowing it time to infiltrate the earth
• Reduces localized flooding on property
• Plants, soil and microorganisms remove many types of pollution from water
• Are attractive landscape features that can add value to a home
• Provide important food and shelter for wildlife and pollinators

Sample Rain Garden PlanRain Garden Layout

Common Invasive Plants To Avoid

Many invasive plants were introduced as non-native ornamentals sold by nurseries for their beauty and hardiness. Even though these plants have escaped cultivation and are threatening native habitats, they are still available at garden centers in high demand. When non-native plants invade wild places, they dramatically reduce the available habitat for birds, insects, mammals, and amphibians which are specifically adapted to native plants for food and shelter.

Common InvasivesComplete List From DCNR

INVASIVE PLANTS

• Are not native to an area
• Spread quickly
• Little to no pollinator/wildlife value
• Cause economic harm
• Cause environmental harm
• Or may harm human health

Online Trainings

Learn from local and national experts how you can create habitat for wildlife, prevent stormwater run off, and heal the earth! These recordings are of online virtual lectures that are offered as part of the Conservancy’s ongoing Nature Hour series and Lancaster Water Week!

Habitat Steward Training

Habitat Stewards mentor others to create habitat for homes, businesses, community spaces, places of worship, and schools for certification.

PA Master Naturalists & Habitat Stewards, Allison Zechman, Margie Hall, and Linda Ferich conduct a course to train volunteers to become certified Habitat Stewards.

A 24-hour training course begins in the spring and covers topics such as the relationship between wildlife and plants, exceptional habitat features, site analysis, sustainable practices and invasive plants. Each steward receives resource information related to gardening for wildlife.

If you have interest in gardening for wildlife, desire to help others and want to be a member of the Conservancy’s Habitat Steward team, please contact us at lferich@lancasterconservancy.org. 

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