Testimonial from Monica Delzeit
Rachel Carson saw it coming 60 years ago. As a medical professional, I see our number one public health concern as the climate crisis. No other public health concern will affect us all. After retiring, I felt that I could add to my love of gardening and include all the portions of the Backyard Habitat Certification Program. Despite my orthopedic issues, I’ve been able to introduce and maintain all 5 pillars of this program, without much outside help:
- Native plants and trees house and feed the native insects, birds and mammals that co-evolved with them over geologic time. Co-evolving means just the right color, sugar composition, height, etc. attracts hundreds of species instead of just a handful with non-native plants and trees.
- Noxious weeds have no native predators to keep their growth and spread controlled. In this way, they reduce biodiversity of native plants and, in turn, the native insects, birds, and mammals that rely on native plants for housing and forage. I want to see more of our charismatic fauna, not less.
- Pesticides/Herbicides/Fertilizers are primarily made in a lab and get into the ground water and bodies of water, adversely affecting native water life and us. Native plants and trees don’t require these chemicals. Our natural environment is all they need.
- Stormwater washing over our roofs, driveways, sidewalks and roadways picks up pollutants like your neighbors pesticides/herbicides, motor oil and gasoline, metals and other chemicals. These drain into our beautiful rivers and streams, endangering water quality and wildlife. The program encourages nine possible management actions.
- The newest piece to me is wildlife stewardship. This can include keeping cats indoors; keeping a water feature clean for birds, insects and amphibians; nurturing mason bees; putting in a pollinator meadow (if you have a large enough property); leaving leaves, snags and nurse logs; reducing outdoor lighting during bird migration; to name a few.
I so enjoyed the sense of community and common sensibilities this program created that I became a certification volunteer in 2021. I’m heartened by the commitment of so many new friends to stewarding out beautiful temperate rain forest in Lake Oswego, and beyond. It gives me hope.
Good news! The program has recently caught up on enrolling interested new participants in Lake Oswego.