This Quick Tips Tuesday falls on Earth Day so, with the help of the Barrington Area Conservation Trust (BACT), we’ve put together a list of simple steps we can all take to help protect our planet without leaving our homes.
Our new Quick Tips Tuesday series is all about sharing weekly advice from local experts and we’ve selected a little Earth Day inspired video – an oldie but goodie – if you’d like a little background music with your reading today.
Protecting the planet is no easy task, but according to Barrington Area Conservation Trust’s April Anderson, there are simple steps we can all take to do our part.
8 Earth Day Tips for At Home Conservation
by April Anderson with the Barrington Area Conservation Trust’s Conservation@Home Team
1. Learn about native plants
Native plants are adapted to the unique climate and soils of our area, allowing them to survive everything from timely frosts to torrential rains and droughts. Replacing a section of lawn with a garden of native plants, you can reduce runoff while providing food and habitat for insects and animals.
My favorite native spring-blooming wildflowers for the woods include Virginia bluebells, bloodroot, and wild ginger. In sunny spots, I love to see Pasque flower, prairie smoke, and wild petunia, while in wet places, marsh marigolds and skunk cabbage precede the beauties of summer and fall. Native plants can be purchased many places — both in our community and in our region. BACT will be selling native plants after all of these sales are over so people can build on their successes.
2. Put out a bird feeder (or two)
Clean feeders containing a variety of foods enable you to enjoy birdwatching while providing supplemental nourishment.
3. Manage for invasives
Invasive species such as buckthorn, honeysuckle, and autumn olive can be cut and herbicided to avoid compacting soil and impacting other plants. For help identifying Illinois Invasive Plants, visit rtrcwma.org/Woodland.pdf.
4. Turn off the lights
Extinguish outside lights whenever possible to give nocturnal wildlife the darkness they need.
5. Plant a spring garden
Planting a small vegetable garden reduces the environmental costs associated with transporting food. To learn more about organic vegetable gardening, visit SmartFarms.org.
6. Plant an oak tree
Consider planting an oak tree this spring. Oak trees add interest to many landscapes while providing a great stopover for many migrating birds. Classified by The Nature Conservancy as an “imperiled ecosystem,” oak habitats need all of the help they can get.
BACT has free oak saplings to share while they last! Please contact Beth Adler for information at email@example.com or call 847-387-3149.
7. Consider composting
Instead of putting your food waste into the garbage, you can start composting this refuse into rich soil for your garden.
8. Capture Stormwater with Rain Barrels
Rain barrels capture stormwater that would otherwise be lost as runoff. With rain barrels, homeowners can save over 1,000 gallons of water during peak summer months. If you CLICK HERE to order rain barrels for your home, a portion of the proceeds will be donated back to the Barrington Area Conservation Trust.
Barrington Area Conservation Trust was founded in 2001 to help preserve the open space, rural character, and scenic, recreational, historic, and natural resources of the Barrington, Illinois-area communities through advocacy, education, and promotion of responsible land stewardship
For more information about the BACT’s work, mission and Conservation@Home program, visit BACTrust.org.