The City of Lake Oswego has over 300 acres in natural areas and neighboring Tryon Creek State Park adds another 770 acres. That adds up to a lot of natural space but most of that space is surrounded by neighborhoods creating habitat islands. What if we could somehow connect those habitat islands and give native insects, birds and wildlife more food and space to thrive? That is where the Backyard Habitat Program comes in, helping homeowners learn more about their yard, what invasive plants they have and where they may be able to add a few native plants into their new or existing garden space. In Lake Oswego, the Backyard Habitat Certification Program is managed by the Friends of Tryon Creek and so far we have visited over 153 homeowners. 57 homeowners have already certified at the Silver, Gold or Platinum level while the remaining homeowners are working towards their certification.
Heidi Schrimsher is one of our homeowners working towards certification and even though she is a landscape architect, she is still able to learn a lot through the program. Heidi is currently aiming for Gold certification which means 25% of her yard will be planted in natives. One of the things Heidi enjoys since adding natives to her yard is the sudden increase in the variety of birds. Native plants provide food for native insects that are a primary food source for young birds. This is something she can show her children and help them make a daily connection with nature. Some of the other benefits she sees include eliminating chemicals and fertilizers and reducing her water use as the native plants get established. Heidi wants other homeowners to know that although it can seem overwhelming when you have a lot of English Ivy or invasive Armenian Blackberry, it helps to take it one step at a time.
The Backyard Habitat program can help you get there. Heidi was impressed with the site report and plant list we specifically designed for her yard. Heidi also enjoyed buying her plants through the Backyard Habitat program at wholesale prices. She feels that it is empowering to do her part in her own yard to provide habitat and food for wildlife.
If you share this feeling, sign up for a site visit today. Through a partnership with the City of Lake Oswego, the Columbia Land Trust and the Audubon Society of Portland the Friends are able to offer site visits for a one-time fee of $25. To take advantage of this incredible deal please visit: http://www.tryonfriends.org/protect/backyard-habitat/.
Reprinted from the Friends of Tryon Creek Trillium Times, January 2014