We know you are out there. Those of you who have, or are planning to, put conservation on the ground in your backyard. Whether it is installing a rain barrel, composting food and yard waste, planting natives, transitioning lawn to native plants or no-mow grass, bee-keeping, raising chickens, or growing food in traditional garden beds or raised beds -- we want to hear your story!
Our Backyard Conservation Success Story program is an opportunity to learn from each other's successes and struggles while implementing conservation practices. It is also an opportunity to create a network of people who are good stewards of the land. 2022 was the inaugural year for this program and we are back again, asking you to share your story. It can be as simple as filling out the survey on our website, or as involved as having Lucas SWCD staff visit your property to see and learn about your conservation projects.
Last year, we heard from 22 Conservation Champions and visited three properties. It was amazing to hear about and see examples of all the amazing work being done by landowners and residents in the area who care deeply about "leaving it better than they found it".
Here are some excerpts from the 2022 survey from Conservation Champions in our community:
"We have so many native pollinators visiting daily and at night too. The native plants seem to like the rain barrel water instead of city water."
"I'm learning over time and making yearly changes. Adding clover and drought-tolerant grasses to the yard, adding native plants, and this year no-till vegetable gardening."
"We have reduced the lawn to a minimum. We have a combination of natives and non-natives. Our gutters deposit water into our garden beds. We use a rain barrel and compost our vegetables, grass and leaves. We leave leaf litter for pollinators."
"We pulled ~15 acres out of farmland and converted it to native prairie with trails to walk or horseback-ride. Struggling with non-native invasive plants but seeing lots of pollinators and other native wildlife."
"It's been a somewhat slow process since moving into my house. Overall I think the wildlife are very happy. All improvements have been DYI, sometimes those need upgrades or rethinking if not working as planned. Of course plants and gardening are an ongoing labor of love. With that said, the rabbits have stayed out of my vegetable garden so they must have enough of their own keeping them happy. More Hummingbirds than ever. At least 4 species of snakes. Chipmunks 3 years now. Fox squirrels the past 6 years. Occasionally an opossum, skunk, deer, or wild Turkey. It's my sanctuary."