Restore native habitats and enhance ecosystem services: Habitat loss and conversion are happening all over the world, posing one of the most significant threats to indigenous plants and animals. Invasive species are outcompeting native species in many areas, which is reducing the quality of habitats for wildlife and humans alike. Healthy ecosystems not only provide a habitat for wildlife but also offer ecosystem services such as stormwater mitigation, carbon cycling, oxygen production, habitat for pollinators, and, of course, a beautiful place for exploration and discovery. Native habitats tend to provide better ecosystem services and wildlife habitat than invasive species because native systems have adapted and changed together over long periods of time. As native habitats are more valuable, we work to remove invasive species and replace them with native ones whenever possible.

Protect and manage urban wildlife: Habitat fragmentation is a major challenge faced by several native and migratory species in urban areas. Since the settlement, populations of reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds, and mammals have drastically declined. To address this issue, we customize our habitats to provide a safe haven for the most vulnerable animals.

Improve and increase water resources: Utah is the second driest state in the US, which makes water a precious resource, especially in the face of climate change. Water is vital for plants, animals, and humans, serving as a life-giving force. The Ogden Nature Center boasts a range of water resources, such as wetlands, ponds, and streams, all of which provide a secure habitat for wildlife and enhance visitors' experiences. We strive to ensure that water quality is improved, both as it enters and exits the property, and carry out projects to increase water quantity on the preserve, thus guaranteeing that water is always available in our system throughout the year.

Support the Center’s Mission and Vision through Conservation

The Ogden Nature Center has a mission to connect people with nature. To achieve this goal, the center focuses on preserving native habitat and wildlife in an urban environment. Additionally, the center provides environmental education and meaningful experiences for everyone. With 185 acres of land, the center is the ideal place to witness plants, animals, and seasonal cycles. The center is always looking for new ways to share this experience with the Northern Utah community.

When deciding which conservation projects to undertake, we evaluate them based on specific goals and aim for the greatest overall return on investment of time and resources spent on improving the land. The efforts that receive the highest rating become our top conservation priorities. We use a scientific process to restore 175 acres of land into a visually stunning and biotically diverse ecosystem to support native and migratory wildlife. This is how we put our conservation ethic into action.

Conservation in your Yard

There are many ways you can integrate native plant and pollinator conservation in your yard. By planting native trees, grasses, wildflowers and limiting herbicides and pesticides, you can look forward to hearing and seeing birds, pollinators, and other wildlife at your home.

A More Natural Yard

Many individuals are interested in finding alternatives to high-maintenance, mowed lawns, in favor of yards that require less work and offer a more diverse array of floral beauty. Luckily, it is possible to have the best of both worlds by planting indigenous grasses, wildflowers, trees, and shrubs that need little long-term maintenance, are drought tolerant, and provide habitat for native and migratory animals. Xeriscaping is a common practice in Utah and can produce gorgeous, waterwise spaces, that can be enjoyed by people and wildlife. Prioritizing conservation in your yard creates oases of habitat to support native birds, butterflies, bees, and other creatures throughout your yard.

A simple way to begin is to assess how much grass lawn your family actually needs for activities such as playing or relaxing. There are likely areas of your yard that are not utilized and could become small gardens. Those hard-to-mow corners or edges are especially fitting for small gardens. Park strips can be converted to light-covered gravel or desert-scapes. One easy and effective way to start is by planting a patch of milkweed, which serves as food for young caterpillars of monarch butterflies, whose population is declining. If you require a larger space for activities, consider reducing or eliminating the use of insecticides, which kill both pesky and beneficial insects.

Bird Conservation in Your Yard

One of the best ways to support birds is by planting native plants that attract native insects for birds to eat. Some examples of plants that provide excellent food for birds include chokecherry, dogwood, golden current, and Wood’s rose. Additionally, shrubs like sagebrush, rabbitbrush, and juniper can provide nesting locations and materials. Serviceberry shrubs provide fruit throughout the winter, and Hawthorn trees' thorns offer birds protection while nesting as well as winter fruit. Trees such as maple, Gambel oak, and birch provide seeds that birds can eat. Wildflowers, such as asters, penstemons, globemallows, coneflowers, goldenrods, and sunflowers, are also great options as they offer habitats for both insects and birds. To learn which plants might work best in your yard, consult the National Audubon Society Native Plants Guide.

You can also help birds come springtime by allowing organic material to remain in your yard over the winter. Birds can find food in yard remnants, compost heaps, or eat the insects they attract. Additionally, twigs, grasses, branches, and even the lichen that grows on them can become nesting material. If you have large windows, it's essential to place clear decals of predator birds to help ensure that birds do not crash into your windows, causing themselves injury or death.

Native Pollinators

Native pollinators such as bees play a crucial role in pollinating the plants around us, including the fruits and vegetables that we consume. Utah holds the record in the United States for most native bee species, there are currently over 1,000 identified species of native bees that work continuously to pollinate the plants we rely on for food. While most native bees are usually difficult to see and often go unnoticed, they are still considered keystone members of our ecosystem. This is because they significantly alter their habitat and positively impact other organisms. Bees support native plant communities that provide shelter and food for wildlife. Furthermore, pollinated plants produce seeds, nuts, and berries that feed birds and help plants propagate. Native bees do not only support native habitats but also play an essential role in pollinating food crops like apples, blueberries, cranberries, squash, and many more.

To support safe bee habitat, gardeners should leave large sunny spots on the ground free of mulch and untouched by shovels. It is a good idea to leave standing dead trees as they make great wildlife habitats. However, logs (without bark) and branches are also hospitable. Gardeners often unintentionally destroy nesting bee sites when digging in the soil, mulching a flower bed, using pesticides, and by keeping a garden too tidy. After pruning shrubs, assume there are bee larvae inside them, and don’t be self-conscious about keeping debris piles and other “messy” spots in your garden. Educating your neighbors about your conservation goals in your yard will also help to support the bee habitat. By following these simple steps, you can help support the bee population in your area.



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