New Audubon Plan to Protect Habitat  

Skidaway Audubon 

If there’s a silver lining to this pandemic that has darkened everyday life like an ominous cloud, it’s a greater appreciation for nature and outdoor spaces. 

More people have been gardening, biking, birding, fishing, picnicking, and improving their yards…in short, enjoying Skidaway’s unique environment. 

To help protect the island’s natural assets, Skidaway Audubon has launched a new project called Nature Notices. The island has lost large areas of tree canopy, meaning a loss of habitat for wildlife. The Nature Notices initiative is encouraging residents to plant native trees, shrubs, and pollinator gardens to support the dwindling numbers of birds, bees, butterflies, and insects that are critical to the local ecology. 

The initiative recognizes that a resident may not care or notice if a tree is taken down, but nature notices when its home and food source are destroyed. The purpose of Nature Notices is to inspire island residents to create new habitats by “nature-scaping” their properties. 

Naturescaping is simple. Simply replace a portion of your lawn with groupings of native trees, shrubs, and pollinator plants. This reduces the use of pesticides, reduces water bills, provides a more diverse habitat, and can increase property values. 

Another objective of the Nature Notices initiative is to promote the “Remove One/Plant One” approach to tree maintenance. If a tree is removed, replace it with a small understory tree, or native shrubs, somewhere on your property to preserve essential habitat. 

Some homeowners already have nature-scaped their properties, and Skidaway Audubon plans to recognize those who have done an exemplary job of replacing grassed area with native, added drought-tolerant understory trees and bushes that reduce water usage, and increased our wildlife habitat.   

To promote all of these goals, Audubon hopes eventually to host informative presentations. Naturalist Doug Tallamy, in his new book, Nature’s Best Hope, states that the nationwide problem of habitat loss and the associated wildlife declines can best be addressed on the local level with a network of homegrown ecological havens.  

Tallamy spoke at a Skidaway Audubon event a few years ago and has been invited to return this fall. 

Audubon also plans to sponsor a native plant sale this spring, to ensure the availability of desirable native plants at a reasonable cost. It will include specific milkweed plants known to attract monarch butterflies. The number of monarch butterflies has declined 90 percent worldwide in the last 10 years. 

Serving on the Nature Notices project committee are Skidaway Audubon President Dawn Cordo, Carolyn McInerney, Missy Goulard, Meg Kettlitz, and Rich Wolfert. For more details on the Nature Notices initiative or to become an Audubon supporter, please visit SkidawayAudubon.org.   

Go Native - Many homeowners already have made their yards wildlife-friendly, with groupings of trees and an understory of native, drought-tolerant bushes and plants, like this home in Marshwood.