Monday, December 19, 2011

Garden Variety Bees Calendar from The Great Sunflower Project!

Garden Variety Native Bees of North America is both a guide to some of our more common native bees and a gardening calendar that never goes out of date. It is set up as a “perpetual calendar” so it includes the dates in each month, but not the days of the week. Use this calendar to keep month to month, and even year to year comparative garden notes. It's a great way to record your observations of the bloom times and other characteristics of the bee-friendly plants you include in your garden, along with reminders to observe bee visits in your garden and send in your data! Details and order information here:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Volunteer Opportunities with National Wildlife Federation

Habitat Steward:
Teach others in your community how to create habitat for wildlife by giving presentations, volunteering to create a Schoolyard Habitats™ site, writing articles for local media or restoring habitat in a public site. Habitat Stewards make a commitment to volunteer for at least 30 hours within the year following their training. Since you have taken the Backyard Habitat classes with Woodland Park Zoo, all you need to do is meet with NWF staff.

Habitat Steward Host:
If you like to train and inspire others, this is the volunteer job for you! You organize and host a Habitat Stewards training and then mentor your Stewards during their first year. You don’t need to be a habitat expert, but must be able to facilitate the training and pull together guest speakers and other resources. Training is done by a correspondence course run by NWF, and it lasts about three months.

Habitat Ambassador:
Help others learn how to garden for wildlife by hosting a table at a community event, giving a short presentation or distributing National Wildlife Federation literature. The training is done online with an NWF-provided CD.

Community Wildlife Habitat™ Team:
Once you have registered your own yard as a Certified Wildlife Habitat™, you can take your commitment to the next level by forming a Community Wildlife Habitat team and getting your community certified. Or you can become a member of one of the over 30 teams already working in Washington. More info on

Benefits of Volunteering:
• Contribute to community and national change
• 30% discount through NWF Catalog
• Invitation to exclusive events and openings
• "Insider" communication and news about national issues
• Special discounts and invitations from NWF corporate partners
• Volunteering 30 hours annually equals a free children’s magazine subscription

If interested, please contact Courtney Sullivan, Education Manager, Pacific Regional Center or (206) 577-7175

Friday, September 9, 2011

Seattle Audubon Fall Classes!

Molt Demystified
With Daniel Froehlich, President of the Puget Sound Bird Observatory & master bander.

Feathers are an amazing adaptation unique to birds. Maintaining high-quality plumage requires a considerable investment. Molt (the replacement of feathers) along with breeding and migration represent the major life-history stages in the annual cycle of birds. Yet until recently, molt has been little studied and, as a result, is often poorly understood by birders. This class will explore how feathers grow, how birds replace feathers, why different species molt at different times, the significance of feather wear, and how understanding these qualities will help you become a better birder. The class includes a field trip to Discovery Park where we will examine plumages for evidence of molt.

Lecture: Thursday, September 15 and 22, 7:00 – 9:00 pm,
Location: CUH – Douglas Classroom
Field Trip: Saturday, September 24th, 7:30 a.m. - noon.
Cost: $50 members/$65 non-members
Limit: 20

Introduction to Birding
Hans de Grys, Chemistry Teacher, Lakeside School
Master Birder
Recipient, MIT’s Inspirational Teacher Award

Interested in learning more about the birds of Seattle and the Puget Sound? Do you have birds in your yard or local sightings that you are curious about? This course is an introduction to bird-watching, and will familiarize you with the common birds of the Seattle area, with special emphasis on identification by sight, sound, and behavior. No previous knowledge or experience necessary. A basic field guide for birds is recommended. Two evening sessions, two hours each, plus a local morning weekend field trip.

Lecture: Thursdays, Sept 22 and Oct 13th , 7pm to 9pm
Location: The Lakeside School
Field Trips: Saturday, October 15th, 8am to noon, location to be announced in class
Cost: $50 members, $65 nonmembers for lecture and field trip.
Limit: 20 for lecture and field trip

Nature Journaling with Carleen Zimmerman

Come and explore techniques for recording observations and discover the fascination of creating nature journals. The class will cover field sketching, creative writing, and journal projects. This will be an "in the garden" class at our home in our backyard wildlife sanctuary. The focus will be observing plants and birds in a backyard habitat. Bring your favorite journaling supplies (paper, journal books, pens, watercolor pencils etc). This is an accessible class. In case of inclement weather, we will be outside under our covered deck.

Carleen is a Seattle Audubon volunteer who has led nature journaling activities at Audubon Wenas campouts for the past five years. She has been a guest artist at Seattle Audubon's Nature Camp summer 2011. She gave a powerpoint presentation on nature journaling at Brier Library in March 2011 for Brier Wildlife Habitat Project. She has offered nature journaling classes through Seattle Audubon in 2007 and 2008. She has had her field sketches on display at Harborview Medical Center. She has taken many field sketching and nature writing workshops. She travels and "birds" with her husband, Neil, and has been nature journals for the past 10 years.

Class: Sunday, September 25, 9am-3pm
Location: Meet at Seattle Audubon, caravan to my house. Bring lunch, bring own supplies; instructor will provide an exercise book.
Cost: $10
Limit: 8

Four and Ninety Blackbirds
Gordon Orians, Professor Emeritus of Biology at the University of Washington
Member, National Academy of Sciences and American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The nearly 100 species of blackbirds (Icteridae), which are found only in the Americas, are remarkably variable in their ecology, social organization, and the environments they live in. Consequently, they have attracted the attention of many scientists who have used them to test theories of habitat selection, mate selection, choice of foods and foraging modes, and the evolution of social systems. The species will be described, with a review of traits that unite them despite their great diversity. Also discussed will be the rich array of investigations that have used blackbirds as subjects, including what has been learned to date and what is yet to be explored. The class will conclude with the blackbirds that live in Washington State, where to find them, and what is special about them. One evening session of two hours.

Lecture: October 24 -- 7 – 9 pm
Location: CUH – Douglas Classroom
Field Trips: None
Cost: $35 members, $50 nonmembers -- for lecture
Limit: 30

The Latest and Greatest Advances in Birding Technology
With Eric Harlow, former SAS board member, master birder student, and bird geek.

Having trouble keeping iBird, eBird, Birdseye, eGuides, iPhones, iPads, and Androids straight? Have you been birding with people who spend almost as much time looking at tiny screens as they do looking at the birds? Are you still trying to figure out how you can have multiple recordings of every bird species in the US at your fingertips? This one-evening class will explore and review the latest birding technology that can help improve your ability to find, identify, and list our feathered friends. The class will demonstrate and review the pros and cons of the latest birding apps for iPhone and Android smartphones, options for iPods and iPads, computer software for bird identification and listing, various sources of bird recordings. We will also discuss the ethics of playing songs in the field to lure birds.

Lecture: November 8, 7 -9 pm
Location: CUH – Douglas Classroom
Cost: $20 members, $35 non-members
Limit: 30

Attracting Birds to Your Yard
Join Neil Zimmerman, Seattle Audubon Outreach Chair and Master Birder

Learn how to attract and care for birds in your yard through plant selection, placement and maintenance of bird feeders and nestboxes, and use of water features.

Lecture: Wednesday, Nov 9 – 7-9 pm
Location: CUH – Douglas classroom
Fee: $20 members, $35 nonmembers
Limit: 24

To register for classes by credit card, call Seattle Audubon, 206-523-4483, Monday-Saturday, 10:00AM-4:00PM, or mail your check to Seattle Audubon, 8050 35th NE, Seattle WA 98115.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fall Backyard Habitat Classes at Woodland Park Zoo!

At this series of five classes, you'll learn from experts from Seattle Audubon, Washington Native Plant Society, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Bats Northwest and Woodland Park Zoo about how to design your wildlife habitat, attract birds and other wildlife to your backyard, select and care for native plants, manage your backyard sustainably, coexist peacefully with the wildlife you attract, and get your yard certified as a Backyard Habitat.

Wildlife Garden Design and Management
Thursday, September 22nd from 7 to 9 pm

Attracting Birds to your Backyard
Wednesday, October 5th from 7 to 9 pm
Fall Plants and Planting
Saturday, October 15th from 9 am to 11 am

Preparing your Backyard Habitat for Winter
Saturday, October 15th from 1 to 3 pm

Bats and Nocturnal Wildlife
Tuesday, October 25th from 7 to 9 pm

For more information or to register, see the Backyard Habitat page on Woodland Park Zoo's website.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Better dead than alive?

From August edition of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Crossing Paths newsletter

As strange as it seems, some trees can actually provide more habitat for wildlife when they're dead than when they're alive. Standing dead and dying trees, called "snags" or "wildlife trees," are important for wildlife in both natural and landscaped settings.
Birds, small mammals, and other wildlife use snags for nests, nurseries, storage areas, foraging, roosting, and perching. Live trees with snag-like features, such as hollow trunks, excavated cavities, and dead branches can provide similar wildlife value. Snags occurring along streams eventually fall into the water, adding important woody debris habitat for fish and other aquatic life.

Snags can attract wildlife species to your property that you might not otherwise see.
More than 100 species of our birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians need snags for nesting, roosting, and denning. Hollow snags and large knot-holes are used by Douglas squirrels, northern flying squirrels, martens, porcupines, raccoons, and even black bears. Several species of owls and woodpeckers also use large cavities. Bluebirds, chickadees, swallows, wrens and other songbirds use smaller cavities. Brown creepers, nuthatches, bats, lizards, and mourning cloak butterflies will roost behind loose bark and bark slits for winter warmth and shelter.

Some 45 of our wildlife species forage for food in snags, which are often loaded with insects. Woodpeckers, sapsuckers, flickers, nuthatches, and a myriad of other insectivorous species regularly make snags their dining rooms. Mice, squirrels, jays, crows and other wildlife use snags more like kitchens, for food storage areas.

Some snags make ideal hunting perches for hawks, eagles, and owls. The more open resting perches that snags provide are preferred by swallows, band-tailed pigeons, mourning doves and other colonial birds. And of course the resonating surfaces of some snags are perfect for woodpeckers to announce their presence with their hammering bills during courtship season.

Snags of both deciduous and coniferous trees are used by wildlife. The most favored snag species east of the Cascades are ponderosa pine, western larch, quaking aspen, and paper birch; west of the Cascades, Douglas fir, western red cedar, big-leaf maple and cottonwood snags are highly used. Softwood trees such as fir tend to make better food foraging trees, while hardwood trees are sometimes better for nesting cavities.

Unfortunately, many of these dead or dying trees are cut down without much thought to their wildlife value and the management options that can safely prolong their existence. Of course if not managed properly, snags can pose a risk to people and structures. If a dead or dying tree threatens something that can be moved, such as a swing set or patio furniture, consider moving those items before cutting the tree down. An alternative to eliminating the entire tree is to remove only the dangerous sections.

Consulting with a certified arborist experienced in wildlife snags is recommended. These professionals can determine what part of a tree is a hazard and provide management options to reduce or eliminate any risk. Remaining parts can be removed over time. Often, once the unsafe limbs or portions of the trunk have been removed, the tree is safe.

Retain live trees and tall shrubs near a snag to protect it from wind and provide a more complete environment for wildlife. In urban areas, tall snags are best located away from high activity areas, where they won't pose a hazard if they fall. Trees that lean away or are downhill from structures and other areas of human activity present little or no risk.
When a tree must be cut down, maximize its habitat value by placing as much of the debris as possible near the area where the tree was removed. In hot, dry areas, move the material into the shade of nearby trees or large shrubs.

You can create a snag from trees that are hazardous or problematic, like ones with forked tops or disease or invasive roots threatening a drainage or septic system, or individual trees in a group that needs thinning. Like landscaping rocks and boulders, snags can add interesting, artistic angles to your property.

More information about snags, including details about how to safely create a snag, or enhance existing dead or dying trees, is available at

Monday, August 15, 2011

August 20th: The Return of the Great Bee Count!

News from The Great Sunflower Project:
I would bet that all across the country, sunflowers have now finally bloomed. I know ours have here along the foggy Northern California coast, and even those in the Pacific Northwest have opened. We are hoping that both you and the bees in your area take advantage of these beautiful blooms and join us for the Return of the Great Bee Count on August 20th. Of course, you can make your observations anytime, as often as you can, but if you haven’t yet participated this summer, mark your calendars for August 20th now.

If you haven’t been to our web site recently, come by and check out our “Leader Board” on the homepage ( to see our top data collectors. We’ll update this each week, so you have a chance to get your name on the board. Thanks to all our top collectors, by the way.

Keep up the great work!

Monday, July 11, 2011

July 16th: Join The Great Sunflower Project for the Great Bee Count and Bee-a-Thon

Message from The Great Sunflower Project:
Greetings citizen scientists!

Summer is now in full swing and gardens are buzzing with activity. Your sunflowers have survived birds and slugs, unseasonal rain and dry spells. Some of you have sunflowers in bloom and are diligently sending in your observations. Congratulations to all those who have already had the opportunity to observe, collect and report their data. Well done! Check out our “Leader Board” on the homepage of the Great Sunflower Project website. ( to see our top data collectors. We’ll update this each week, so keep up the great work.

While we don’t expect everyone to be a data leader, we’re asking all of you to attempt at least one observation this year. Why not join thousands of others across the country in The Great Bee Count and observe on Saturday, July 16th? Not only will you know that you are joining with others to help a greater cause, you can take a few moments from your day to learn about natures benefits.

Even if you do not have blooms on your plants by July 16th, you can still be enjoy, learn and be part of the project by tuning in to the first ever “Bee-A-Thon” - a 12-hour, worldwide online webcast designed to bring you current information about bee conservation. Throughout the day, experts will talk about bee biology and changes in global bee populations and ways to take action. A live, online broadcast dedicated to bees and other pollinators has never been done before, and we know it will be fascinating and informative. Just go to and join the fun. You can find more details and RSVP online for the Bee-a-Thon.

Remember: Bees are declining in certain areas, and the more we know about pollinator service in your area, the more action will be able to be taken to preserve and enhance pollinator habitat. Be a part of the solution: Observe and report data for Great Bee Count on July 16th and tune in to from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm PST for the Bee-a-Thon.

We would like as many as possible to observe and report, so if you know of a garden in your area that is accessible to the public where those without flowers can count bees on July 16, please let us know at We’ve set up a page to keep track of them.

Friday, July 1, 2011

July 27th: Duwamish River Cruise with Woodland Park Zoo and Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition!

Date and time: Wednesday, July 27th from 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Cost: $25 per person for people 13 and up, $10 for kids 3-12 years, kids 2 and under are free!

Join Woodland Park Zoo and the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition for a boat tour of the Duwamish River. Make community connections beyond your backyard to the greater Duwamish ecosystem. You'll learn about the cultural and natural history of the river, pollution hotspots and habitat restoration opportunities with the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition. We'll also search for wildlife such as eagles, ospreys, seals and otters.

For more information or to register, see the Education section of Woodland Park Zoo's website.

Monday, June 6, 2011

July 9th: Second annual Wildlife Habitat Tour in the city of Shoreline!

Where Our Wild Things Are (WOWTA) is a wildlife backyard tour organized by volunteer habitat stewards in the City of Shoreline. They will show you a variety of wildlife habitats and how easy it is to create a wildlife habitat of your own in your backyard, school, and place of worship, business or public building.

Please join WOWTA on Saturday, July 9, 2011 from 10 am to 3 pm.
Free admission: Mini learning experiences at each location!

Starting location to pick up maps on day of tour: Calvin Presbyterian to Briarcrest Elementary, 2715 Northeast 158th Street, Shoreline, WA, 98155

All Participating Habitats are National Wildlife Federation Certified Backyard Wildlife Habitats. Watching wildlife is fun, and creating a wildlife habitat sanctuary is a healthy way to give back to the Earth. It’s easy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Saturday, June 4th: Grand Opening of Woodland Park Zoo's Backyard Habitat garden!

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
FREE with zoo admission

Come celebrate the opening of the new Backyard Habitat garden, located in the zoo's Family Farm! You and your family will have the chance to dig in the dirt and plant seeds, observe and identify birds, participate in citizen science, and learn how to create habitat for wildlife in your own backyard, schoolyard or community garden!

The Backyard Habitat garden, generously funded by the Boeing Company and the Pendleton and Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation, shows visitors how to bring wildlife closer to home, from providing food, water, shelter and places to raise young to reducing the use of chemicals in your yard. The garden also serves as a programming space to learn how to attract birds and other wildlife to your backyard, select and care for native plants, place feeders and bird houses, and get your garden certified as a Backyard Habitat.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Saturday, May 14th: Tukwila Backyard Wildlife Festival!

The 11th Annual Backyard Wildlife Festival is this Saturday! You’re invited to find out how to enhance your outdoor space to create a wildlife and environmentally-friendly backyard habitat at this FREE family-friendly event! You can also hear our keynote speaker Ciscoe Morris talk about how to attract hummingbird to your yards and gardens!

Backyard Wildlife Festival
Saturday, May 14 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Visit the festival website at

Popular highlights of the festival include the Guided Bird Tour along the Duwamish River and the Certified Backyard Habitat Garden Tour. Kids will enjoy the new Kids Garden Party featuring events and activities especially for kids. There will also be an arts and crafts marketplace, native plant sales, educational booths, scheduled speakers, a pancake breakfast, recycled art show and more!

The festival is held at the Tukwila Community Center at 12424 42nd Ave S, Tukwila 98188. We hope to see you there! For more information, please call 206.768.2822.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Wildlife University in Edmonds starts this week!

Wildlife University is a series of courses that teaches you how to attract a wide variety of wildlife to your backyard, to a schoolyard, or to an area in your community. There are seven courses to be covered in four week nights. Each course contains online presentations, down loadable study guides, and recommended activities. The course outline is the following:
  • Habitat Basics is the best place to start! This course teaches you about basic concepts that are used throughout the other courses. You will learn about many different topics, such as the importance of native plants. (TUESDAY, May 10th, 7:00-8:30PM, Edmonds Public Library)

  • Providing Food for Wildlife discusses the food chain and how you can provide food for wildlife species in your area.(TUESDAY, May 24th, 7:00-8:30PM, Edmonds Public Library)

  • Providing Water for Wildlife teaches you the importance of water for your habitat and identifies easy ways to provide it appropriately.(TUESDAY, May 17th, 7:00-8:30PM, Edmonds Public Library)

  • Providing Cover for Wildlife gives you practical ways to provide cover and shelter for a variety of different wildlife species throughout the seasons.(TUESDAY, May 24th, 7:00-8:30PM, Edmonds Public Library)

  • Providing Places to Raise Young introduces you to the importance of spaces for wildlife to mate and bear young and offers some suggestions for creating these spaces in your habitat.(TUESDAY, May 17th, 7:00-8:30PM, Edmonds Public Library)

  • Sustainable Gardening Practices is all about things you can do that are good for your garden and for wildlife. Topics include organic gardening, composting, and water conservation.(TUESDAY, May 10th, 7:00-8:30PM, Edmonds Public Library)

  • Overview of the Backyard Wildlife HabitatTM and Schoolyard Habitats® programs provides you with information about each of these national programs and the resources they can offer as you learn more. You will want to know all about these programs, because creating places for wildlife can become a hobby that you enjoy with your friends and family.(TUESDAY, May 24th, 7:00-8:30PM, Edmonds Public Library)

  • In Addition we will cover topics such as: Western WA Butterfly gardening 101, Bats in our Gardens 101, Bees in our Gardens 101, Carpentry for Critters,Top 25 Birds in our Backyards ID.
This course is free but space is limited. Please register through the Sno-Isle/Edmonds Public library at:

or by phone at: (425-771-1933)

The courses will all be held each Tuesday night at the Edmonds Public Library located at 650 Main St, Edmonds, WA

Note: National Wildlife Federation is the sponsor & creator of these courses. One you sign-up for a course you will be credited by NWF. For more information go to their website at:


Monday, April 11, 2011

April 28th: Seattle Audubon's 5th Annual Beers for Birds Trivia and Raffle!

Please join Seattle Audubon for an evening of bird trivia, raffle prizes, and fun! Test your bird knowledge, win great prizes, and support Seattle Audubon’s adult education programs.

Thursday, April 28th, 7–9pm
at the Wedgwood Ale House (8515 35th Avenue NE)

Trivia Contest—$3 per person
Raffle Tickets—$5 each

Must be 21 years old to participate. Space is limited to the first 100 people.
For more information or to purchase a raffle ticket see or contact Lisa at:(206) 523-8243 ext.14

Thursday, March 31, 2011

2011 Spring Savvy Gardener Classes

Pre-registration is not required for these free classes, to be held at local nurseries. Please arrive early to make sure you get a space at these popular classes!

Easy Plants for Gorgeous, Carefree Gardens Taught by Peggy Campbell (two dates & locations)

Saturday, April 9 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
9701 15th Ave. NW, Seattle
(206) 782-2543

Saturday, April 23 - 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
13625 NE 175th St., Woodinville
(425) 483-5000

Ready for a more leisurely summer? Tired of endless weeding and watering? Learn tips, proven techniques and plant suggestions from horticulturalist Peggy Campbell for year-round beauty and easy success. Gather lists of plants able to thrive in our dry summers, and tolerate our wet winters.

Edible Abundance - Essential Tips for the Northwest Organic Food Gardener
Taught by Marianne Binetti (two dates & locations)

Saturday, April 16 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Furney's Nursery
21215 International Boulevard, Des Moines
(206) 624-0634

Saturday, April 23 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Sky Nursery
18528 Aurora Ave. N., Shoreline
(206) 546-4851

Join local garden author and radio personality Marianne Binetti as she covers the basics of successful organic food gardening in the Pacific Northwest For novice and experienced food gardener alike, whether you garden in the back 40, your front parking strip, or in containers, Marianne will help you reap the most bounty from your soil, sustainably!

Drip Irrigation Basics for Home Gardeners
Taught by Amy Ockerlander, Seattle Tilth (two dates)

Saturday, April 9 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 28 - 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

This class is intended for the do-it-yourself home gardener. We will cover what you need to know to decide if drip irrigation is for you. We will also address how to plan and install a basic system, including design, materials selection, where to purchase; and how to install, operate and maintain your system. Applications for both ornamental and food gardens will be addressed.

Pre-registration required for this free class. To register and get directions contact the Garden Hotline at (206) 633-0224 or at

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Butterflies and Bees class at Woodland Park Zoo!

Thursday, March 31st from 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Join Woodland Park Zoo entomologist Erin Sullivan and horticulturist David Selk to discover how to attract and care for local butterflies and bees. You’ll learn about the importance of these backyard pollinators as well as the threats they face and what you can do to help, including insect-friendly gardening practices.

Want more information on how you can help bees?
* Join the hunt for bees with the Great Sunflower Project!

* Learn more about creating a Pollinator Pathway in your community!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Importance of Snags in Your Neighborhood

Hard to believe, but trees can actually provide more habitats for wildlife dead than when they are alive. Standing dead and dying trees, called “snags” or “wildlife trees,” are important for wildlife in both natural and landscaped settings, occurring as a result of disease, lightning, fire, animal damage, too much shade, drought, root competition, as well as old age.

Birds, small mammals, and other wildlife use snags for nests, nurseries, storage areas, foraging, roosting, and perching. Live trees with snag-like features, such as hollow trunks, excavated cavities, and dead branches can provide similar wildlife value. Snags occurring along streams and shorelines eventually may fall into the water, adding important woody debris to aquatic habitat. Dead branches are often used as perches; snags that lack limbs are often more decayed and, may have more and larger cavities for shelter and nesting. Snags enhance local natural areas by attracting wildlife species that may not otherwise be found there.

All trees of all sizes are potential snags. Unfortunately, many wildlife trees are cut down without much thought to their wildlife value or of the potential management options that can safely prolong the existence of the tree. Wildlife trees offer a one-stop, natural habitat feature. In short, snags “live on” as excellent wildlife trees for all to enjoy!

For more information about wildlife that use snags as well as how to create a snag in your backyard habitat, please see Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's website:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Spring Backyard Habitat classes at Woodland Park Zoo!

At this series of five classes, you'll learn from experts from Seattle Audubon, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Native Plant Society and Woodland Park Zoo about how to attract birds and other wildlife to your backyard, select and care for native plants, recognize and remove invasive plants species, coexist peacefully with the wildlife you attract, conserve water, manage your backyard without the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides, place feeders and bird houses, and get your yard certified as a Backyard Habitat. Classes are designed to build on each other as a series, but may also be taken separately.

Introduction to Backyard Habitat: Site Analysis and Design
Wednesday, March 2nd from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Join Allen Howard, Woodland Park Zoo horticulture staff, to learn the basic principles of creating habitat for wildlife, with a focus on planning, site analysis, and design.

Spring Plants and Planting
Sunday, March 13th from 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Join David Selk, Woodland Park Zoo horticulturist, to discover how different plants in your garden can provide for the basic needs of wildlife. The class includes a plant walk around zoo grounds focusing on aesthetic and size considerations, as well as proper planting techniques.

Butterflies and Bees
Thursday, March 31st from 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Join Woodland Park Zoo entomologist Erin Sullivan and horticulturist David Selk to discover how to attract and care for local butterflies and bees. You’ll learn about the importance of these backyard pollinators as well as the threats they face and what you can do to help, including insect-friendly gardening practices.

Attracting Birds to Your Yard
Tuesday, April 12th from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Join Neil Zimmerman, Seattle Audubon Outreach Chair and Master Birder, to learn how to attract and care for birds in your yard through plant selection, placement and maintenance of bird feeders and nestboxes, and use of water features.

Water Features for Wildlife
Tuesday, April 26th from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Clean, fresh water is a crucial part of any habitat. Join Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife Senior Research Scientist Marc Hayes and Wildlife Biologist Chris Anderson in learning about the variety of ways you can provide water for urban wildlife in your own backyard. You'll see examples of different types of water features, such as ponds, birdbaths and fountains. You'll also learn about the natural history of local amphibians and how to provide habitat for these sensitive animals.

Cost: $25 per person / $100 for the five-part series if you register before 6:00 pm on Wednesday, February 23.

To register, go to Registration closes one week before each class. If there is still space available after registration closes, drop-in registrations will be accepted the night of class. Drop-in classes are $30 each. To inquire about space availability, contact the Individual Registration Specialist at 206.548.2424 or

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Douglas Tallamy: Gardeners as Land Stewards

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 | 7:30 – 9pm
Location: Downstairs at Town Hall; enter on Seneca Street.

Planting native trees, plants, and shrubs in this crowded world carries both a moral and an ecological responsibility we cannot ignore. With 33,000 species imperiled in the U.S., gardeners and landscapers have never been so empowered to help save biodiversity—and the need has never been so great. Celebrity naturalist David Mizejewski introduces Entomology and Wildlife Ecology Professor Douglas Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, who discusses how native plants sustain wildlife in our gardens. Presented by the National Wildlife Federation.

Tickets are $5 at or 800/838-3006, and at the door beginning at 6:30 pm.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Two new Backyard Habitat-related resources!

The Xerces Society will turn 40 this year! We'll be celebrating our official birthday later in the year, but we can't think of a much better way to start such a significant year than with the release of an important new book, Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies.

The work of bees and other pollinators is something that touches us all through the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the landscapes we enjoy. Attracting Native Pollinators offers a window onto the fascinating lives of these insects and provides detailed information about how you can care for these vital animals wherever you live. Whether you are an urban gardener, a suburban park manager, a working farmer, or caring for a nature reserve Attracting Native Pollinators has something for you.

The book has already garnered high praise:

"Attracting Native Pollinators belongs on the bookshelf of everyone who values the future of the natural world."
- Douglas W. Tallamy, researcher and author
of Bringing Nature Home

"Precise, elegant and thoughtful, the recommendations offered by the Xerces Society will become essential to advancing a healthy and diverse food production system."
- Gary Nabhan, author of The Forgotten
Pollinators and Renewing America's Food

More than 380 pages long, Attracting Native Pollinators is illustrated throughout with hundreds of color photographs and dozens of custom-drawn illustrations. It is published by Storey Publishing of North Adams, Mass. and coauthored by four Xerces staff (Eric Mader, Matthew Shepherd, Mace Vaughan, and Scott Hoffman Black) with Gretchen LeBuhn, a botanist at San Francisco State University and director of The Great Sunflower Project.

Pre-order your book from our website by January 31st to get a discount -


Join UW Botanic Gardens and the Northwest Horticultural Society for a celebration of Sarah Reichard’s new book, The Conscientious Gardener: Cultivating a Garden Ethic. Sarah will share the latest best practices for gardening with an environmental ethic, including pest control, water conservation, mulching, and invasive species.

Thursday, February 17, 2011
6:45 pm Reception and Book-Signing; 7:30 pm Lecture
NHS Hall, Center for Urban Horticulture, Seattle
Tickets are $15
For more information, visit

Sarah Reichard is the founder and director of the Washington Rare Plant Care and Conservation and faculty at the University of Washington.

*Proceeds and book sales from the event will benefit Rare Care.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"10,000 by 2010" goal met in 25th year of WDFW Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary program!

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary program celebrated its 25th anniversary year by more than making a "10,000 by 2010" campaign goal. By the end of 2010, an official total of 11,454 properties across the state were enrolled as Backyard Wildlife Sanctuaries. With the program's emphasis on urban and suburban properties where habitat development and restoration is most needed, 89 percent of those properties (10,238) are in western Washington, where more of the state's cities and towns lie in the Puget Sound area from Bellingham to Vancouver. The other 11 percent (1,216) are in eastern Washington, mostly in the state's second largest metropolitan area -- Spokane - with some in the Tri-Cities, Yakima and Wenatchee areas.

The "10,000 by 2010" campaign began in the summer of 2009, when the statewide total of properties enrolled was 8,507. The 10,000 mark was reached in April 2010 with enrollment of a property in Olympia. The Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary program began in 1985 in WDFW's North Puget Sound Region, based in Mill Creek, north of Seattle. It quickly expanded to the Spokane-based Eastern Region for statewide promotion of the program's basic idea - wildlife stewardship begins at home, even and especially in urban settings. With over 35,000 acres of wildlife habitat converted to housing and other development each year in Washington, the program is designed to help offset that loss by encouraging backyard landscaping to provide food and cover for wildlife.

Over the years the program has increased emphasis on development and maintenance of year-round habitat, preferably using low-maintenance, low-water-use native plants. Information on supplemental feeding of birds has increasingly focused on keeping feeders clean to avoid spreading disease among birds and locating feeders to minimize problems with predation by domestic cats and wild predators and birds flying into nearby windows. The program not only enhances the urban environment for the benefit of wildlife, but it also helps increase opportunities for people to enjoy and learn about wildlife by providing information about best practices for attracting watchable wildlife to your home. The latest (2006) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey of wildlife associated recreation showed that 2.3 million Washington residents, or about 40 percent of the state's population, actively watch wildlife. Most of those - 1.9 million or 83 percent - watch wildlife "around home" (defined as within a mile of home.) About 1.5 million feed wildlife and about 360,000 maintain natural areas or plantings for wildlife.

If you're currently one of the many thousands of Washington Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary managers, thank you for all you do to help wildlife on your property. We encourage you to talk to your neighbors about similarly helping wildlife on their property because the bigger the contiguous blocks of habitat, the better for wildlife and wildlife watching. If you're not in the Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary program, you can certify your yard with Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, National Wildlife Federation and Northwest Zoo & Aquarium Alliance by downloading the
Habitat Certification Application

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Free Schoolyard Habitats Webinar!

Are you ready to create a Schoolyard Habitat, but not sure how to start? National Wildlife Federation is offering the free webinar Designing Your Schoolyard Habitat Project on February 3rd at 1:00 p.m. PST.

The webinar will cover the special design and project planning considerations for installing a habitat on school grounds and utilizing a habitat for teaching. For more information and to sign up for the webinar, go to