From the Director: First Step Toward a Sustainable Backyard Habitat
Ever wonder how animals travel between our natural spaces and green corridors? The answer: through your backyard. There are no property lines for birds and other wildlife. Philadelphia, its suburbs, and beyond are all part of one landscape.
To see the Wissahickon Watershed from the point of view of a bird is the first step in understanding how we as property owners can improve habitat and stormwater management. This fall the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and The Nature Conservancy teamed up to launch Habitat Network (yardmap.org). This is a citizen science project that helps users across the country develop a better understanding of wildlife habitat and watershed issues and allows them to maximize their green space as usable habitat. Once property owners create a habitat map of their yards, Habitat Network provides them with a plan they can utilize in managing their landscapes more sustainably for the benefit of wildlife and watershed health.
The reduction in habitat for birds and other wildlife is closely related to the preservation of land for stormwater management in our natural watershed. This tool is an opportunity for those of us living in the Wissahickon Watershed to think about how we handle stormwater management on our properties, as well as how to better provide enhanced habitat for wildlife. It can help us meet some of our collective goals as a community to make our drinking water cleaner and safer to use.
Whether you live in the City of Philadelphia or outside of it, using this site brings home the idea that township and county lines are essentially man-made divisions. Take some time to visit the user-friendly Habitat Network. It will give you a sense of how we are all part of a greater environmental community and how we interact with it, and help you get started making your property a sustainable habitat and watershed friendly green space.