Fourth week of Nature Near You featured backyard wildlife
The fourth week of Nature Near You, the Sanibel Sea School’s e-newsletter, included a week-long unit on backyard wildlife.
Through emails delivered at 9 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Nature Near You participants learned how to encourage birds, butterflies, and bees to their backyards through simple at-home projects.
On April 13, Marine Science Educator and avid birder, Kealy McNeal, kicked off the week with a fun way to entice birds to visit backyards. She shared steps on how to create a bird feeder using all-natural materials, including a hollowed-out orange, a few sticks, and some twine. Participants learned that during migration and breeding season food is in high demand for birds, so right now is the perfect time to create a backyard feeder. McNeal also taught that birds play a big role in seed dispersal for plants.
April 15’s e-newsletter was all about pollinators – butterflies, bees, and the role they play in plant reproduction. Pollinators often visit plants for a nectar reward and transfer pollen from plant to plant in the process. McNeal shared a unique way to encourage pollinators to your backyard by creating a nectar sponge, which is an activity that children can do with a little bit of help from their parents at home. One important takeaway from this lesson is that bee populations are declining around the world, but there are several ways that people can do their part to save the bees in their backyards.
On April 17, the Sanibel Sea School featured one final way that people can attract birds to their backyards. Birds need a dependable source of fresh water for drinking and bathing and a bird bath is a great way to provide this resource. McNeal built her own bird bath with items commonly found around the house and shared ways to keep it in top shape to attract birds.
“Bird baths are a great way to attract birds that don’t eat seeds and wouldn’t otherwise come to your feeders,” she said. “So, it is a great way to increase the diversity of birds that visit your backyard.”
McNeal had birds visit both her orange feeder and bird bath within one week. With just a few simple household items, it is so easy to turn a backyard into a wildlife sanctuary and provide essential resources for birds during much-needed events like migration.
Not only were the projects fun and gratifying, but participants also learned about the closely intertwined role that pollinators and birds have with plants. And, many insects like bees are essential pollinators for plants that provide human food, so it is important for all of us to understand the importance of protecting these species.
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Part of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation family, the Sanibel Sea School’s mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time.