With temperatures already warming up, it feels like spring is already here and it is time to start preparing for a new gardening season. However, while we might be ready to get to work in our gardens, it’s good to remember that many creatures are still using them as habitat before the spring thaw. Our volunteers came up with a great way to remind people of how important our gardens are for local wildlife during the winter.
Urban forests and urban wildlife share an important year-round, symbiotic relationship. Trees and shrubs offer shelter and food to wildlife and, in return, wildlife and pollinators help these woody plants reproduce. Though feeding on woody plants is normal in a forest setting where there is an abundance of trees and shrubs, single trees and shrubs in yards may require protection when young and vulnerable. Using safe and humane methods of protection will minimize damage while also respecting the wildlife that share our yards; it’s a Backyard Biodiversity win-win!
Did you know that the plant choices we make in our gardens can impact the urban forest and the wildlife that call it home? Non-native, invasive species continue to be popular garden choices and are widely available for purchase. Unfortunately, these species can escape our yards and wreak havoc in natural areas! The good news is that there are many beautiful native species that can be planted in their stead that have similar characteristics and only positive consequences for nature!
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the LEAF Urban Forest Demonstration Gardens. Made possible with support from Ontario Power Generation, these gardens, located outside five TTC subway stations, demonstrate how biodiversity can thrive, even in small urban spaces. Whether you frequent our gardens on your daily commute or are just learning about them now, we are excited to share with you how much they have grown!
The urban forest is made up of more than just the trees in our cities. Urban wildlife also share it with us. Some wildlife migrate south for the winter or go into hibernation throughout the cold season, but many birds and mammals do not. The best way to help those which overwinter here is to create and maintain a healthy, thriving and diverse urban forest with enough options for winter habitat. Here are six native species for winter Backyard Biodiversity.