Photo credit © John C. Stroud

Earth Day 2016 is Friday, April 22nd

Every Day is Earth Day at The Backyard Naturalist!

While watching the bustle of nesting season in our backyard, we are celebrating Earth Day 2016 with renewed hope for the future.

Douglas Tallamy‘s message, presented in The Audubon Society‘s article “How to Create a Bird-Friendly Yard” still resonates so strongly with us that we’re sharing it again.

The vision of our little backyard wildlife habitat connected with those of our friends, neighbors, and customers—and millions of backyards across the country—continues to inspire us daily. We hope you’ll be inspired, too.

Every Effort is Making a Difference

According to University of Delaware entomology professor Doug Tallamy, anyone with access to a patch of earth can make a significant contribution toward sustaining biodiversity. His landmark book Bringing Nature Home explains the findings from his research and gives practical guidance on how we can help restore nature, even on the smallest scale.

The good news is that it’s within our power to help turn things around with the plants we choose to grow in our own backyard… or front yard or apartment balcony. And his research tells us that it’s working.


Cedar Wax Wing eating service berries perched in service berry bush..

Cedar Wax Wing eating service berries.


“For the first time in its history, gardening has taken on a role that transcends the needs of the gardener. Like it or not, gardeners have become important players in the management of our nation’s wildlife. It is now within the power of individual gardeners to do something that we all dream of doing: to make a difference. In this case, the ‘difference’ will be to the future of biodiversity, to the native plants and animals of North America and the ecosystems that sustain them.
Douglas Tallamy, Bringing Nature Home


It’s so simple! Native plants attract and sustain native wildlife, including the native insects that many of our wild birds eat to survive. As wild bird hosts who conscientiously stock feeders and keep water accessible, this presents another great opportunity to lure new visitors to our yards!

Professor Tallamy‘s entertaining and educational book, and the book’s companion website,, are highly recommended for further reading. Not only about the science behind his studies, or the limitless benefits and positive repercussions from making simple changes in your landscape, but also for inspiration and a plan of action.

Where to start? Celebrate Earth Day by replacing a non-native or invasive plant in your yard with a native! For help with specific plants for our area, we’ve listed several links below to help you get started — just a few of the many, many local resources available.

We are proud that our Backyard Naturalist community celebrates Earth Day every day with steadfast, year round support for our wild birds, so we are thrilled to deliver this good news again for Earth Day 2016: Collectively, our efforts to create these micro-sanctuaries are making a difference!

Please take time to enjoy and celebrate your ‘patch of earth’ on April 22nd. (And keep up the good work!)

Happy Birding… And Bird-scaping!

Debi Klein, The Backyard Naturalist

Regional Native Plant Information and Sources

Monarch Butterfly on Swamp Milkweed, Wikipedia

A simple stand of native milkweed can make every backyard, school, community center, city park and place of worship a haven for breeding or migrating Monarchs, and together we can bring about the greatest citizen conservation victory of our generation.

Dan Ashe, Director
The US Fish & Wildlife Service



University of Maryland Extension Home and Garden Information Center

Native Plants of Maryland, a handy illustrated pdf from the University of Maryland

Maryland Native Plant Society


Virginia’s Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Division of Natural Heritage (DCR)

Virginia Native Plant Society

Mid-Atlantic Region

Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping – Chesapeake Bay Watershed from The US Fish & Wildlife Service

Bringing Nature Home companion website

Is your yard healthy for YOU?

The Great Healthy Yard Project


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