On the evening of April 20, 2017 the Blue Ridge Foothills and Lakes Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists was lucky enough to have Ms. Lorien Koontz, the Private Lands Wildlife Biologist of the US Department of Agriculture address our group on the topic of Habitat Creation & Gardening. She described a wildlife habitat as a place where animals (mammals, birds, insects, etc.) can find food & water, shelter and space to live. Humans are often guilty of removing animal habitat. Fescue lawns are one major cause of habitat removal by homeowners.
Instead of a fescue lawn which supports very little animal life, a homeowner is encouraged to plant a habitat friendly environment. A habitat is often created in layers: mulch layer, herbaceous layer, shrub layer and tree layer. Each layer can support different types of wildlife.
Lorien described the “Habitat How To” as:
· Set goals
· Decide where to start
· Set budget
· Access what you currently have
· Remove invasive species
· Select plants (Preferably Virginia native species)
· Habitat should connect with each other if possible
· Clear cuts can provide new habitat
For more information, Lorien suggested you visit xerces.org. Also, you may contact Lorien at firstname.lastname@example.org.