The Revolution in my Backyard

Like most people, I used to judge my yard on how nice (or not!) it looked:

Flowers blooming: check

Lawn’s mowed: check

Leaves blown: check

But, now, I see it as the way I can change the world.

Yes, really. The whole world. Let me explain.

Everything in nature depends on something else. And not just on one “something”, but a whole array of processes which have to happen in order to deliver those “somethings” on which all creatures, great and small, are relying.

 The invasive grasses taking over a patch.

The invasive grasses taking over a patch.

Although it’s mostly talked about as a “chain”; it isn’t linear. It’s a circle -- one giant circle of dependency. Mess with one thing on the circle and changes happen along the rest of it. We, as humans, are neither sitting atop any chain nor standing off to the side separated from the circle. We are on it. Whether we like it or not; we are part and parcel of nature.

So, whatever we do sends ripples into vast ecosystems that we have little knowledge of, for better or worse. I am not a biologist, nor a naturalist. I have very little understanding of what impact my decisions have on the web of nature, beyond the basics. But this short article made me start a revolution.

Here was the takeaway:

There is no longer enough public or preserved land to support nature’s ecosystems. Let that sink in for a minute. Case in point, about 60% of wildlife has been wiped off the face of the earth in the last 40 years. What magnitude of an effect does that have on the circle? (Which, remember, we’re on!)

The cavalry is not coming. This is up to us.

 My front yard (overgrown) flower garden.

My front yard (overgrown) flower garden.

Here’s the good news. You know where there is enough land to maintain necessary ecosystems? Backyards. Yup, surprise! Your yard and mine can turn this around!  With all the doom and gloom we hear day after day, I found this to be pretty great news. Here is something I can do that will have a direct and positive impact in the world.

By planting things that support nature, and getting rid of things that don’t, we can reconnect and rebuild functioning ecosystems. I started in my yard about 4 years ago and have had some successes (bluebirds!) and some failures (weed-whacked wildflowers). But, boy, there’s a lot to know and a lot to do -- and probably like you, I’m busy!  Saving nature sounds pretty important though, so I was delighted to find PLAN it WILD. They already know how to do all this and they’ll make a plan specific to your yard and help you implement it.

 This is how a revolution starts! The site assessment of what habitat the land can support.

This is how a revolution starts! The site assessment of what habitat the land can support.

So, PLAN it WILD is now going to help me with my little 3-acre patch of the world and I’m going to chronicle it here. You (and I!) will see the impact of their work, learn the hows and whys of the plan, what works – and what doesn’t. We hope you’ll come along for the journey and get inspired to make some tweaks – big or small – to your backyard too!

Together, we could be the cavalry.