Change Starts At Home
By mid-January, many New Year’s Resolutions have already been made and broken. Ingrained human behavior, it would seem, is a difficult thing to change. For every Texas Master Naturalist, “being the change” we want to see in the world is easier than one might think.
Observation and exploration of outdoor environments both come easy to outdoor types: watching bird parents collect caterpillars and spiders to feed their babies; witnessing a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis; spying a bobcat drinking from the bird drip. Making connections and associations from home brings joy and awe into otherwise routine lives.
Renowned entomologist and author of Bringing Nature Home, Doug Tallamy has been helping others make species connections for decades. He created the Homegrown National Park movement to bring awareness to the potential of urban and suburban landscapes as the green spaces of our future, restoring nature’s diversity where our development has otherwise removed it. “How well a landscape accomplishes its goals depends on how well we, as landscape managers, choose and deploy the plants on our landscape,” Tallamy says. All that’s needed for us as individuals is to understand what is needed to become better stewards of our land. Wildlife diversity is not just beneficial for us. We need nature as much as nature needs us.
How well a landscape accomplishes [ecological] goals depends on how well we, as landscape managers, choose and deploy the plants on our landscapes.Doug Tallamy
There’s no need to make big behavior changes difficult to sustain past the New Year. The easiest and most productive ways to positively impact the environment is a simple refraining from action. At home, these minimal steps result maximum reward and satisfaction.
- STOP pesticides outside the home; welcome biodiversity and improved water quality
- STOP over-managing a winter garden; provide vital habitat and food resources for the tiniest of neighbors
- STOP purchasing exotic plants for your landscape; save water, time, money, and maintenance
- STOP mowing turfgrass unnecessarily; watch winter wildflowers spring into bloom
Want to do more? Doug Tallamy along with Master Naturalists urge everyone to embrace nature’s place among our daily lives, restore our place within nature once again. Pick one … or do them all!
- find locally native plants promoting wildlife abundance
- landscape with a variety (different flowers, grasses, perennials, annuals) for diversity
- at least one keystone species of native plant (i.e. a tree) providing for many species
- leave the leaves – better, mulch with leaves – conserving on-site carbon, promoting soil health
- identify and remove invasive species on your property
- catch rain runoff in barrels, slowing its flow off your property or into the aquifer with a native bioswale
- ask a Master Naturalist for their advice and experience
- get on the Homegrown National Park© map
TMNCPC Members — On the Map!
When millions of Texans partner with Texas Master Naturalists, we all win. This simple shift in paradigm is made even easier with a friendly, educated support system. Coastal Prairie Chapter members Joyce Tipton, Lucy Moyer, Tracey Kolb, Kevin Peters, Anita Maddox, Jan Kolk, Lynn Trenta, and Lorie Foux have all made changes at home, and by learning the ways of Nature intimately, they are not just enjoyed but empowered to help others to do the same in their yards. And so on.
The gallery below features examples of their efforts in Fort Bend, Waller, and Wharton Counties along with the wildlife that call their yards “home.”
Join the Movement
Every month, Coastal Prairie Chapter hosts informative and educational programs that provide a variety of Advanced Training topics to Master Naturalists™ to help them reach their recertification requirements. The public is always invited to join, whether in-person or remotely via Zoom.
February 1st at 7:00 PM, Doug Tallamy will present for us on the Homegrown National Park© movement and how each of us can get involved. Be sure to preregister for the Zoom remote meeting soon, attend from the comfort of your home with our chapter members, and enjoy your opportunity to engage in the conversation of conservation. Don’t delay; space is limited.
Join Our Chapter
Twice per year, the Coastal Prairie Chapter trains a group of people on the -ologies and ecosystems of Texas, helping them to further engage the public with the TMN Mission. Enrollment for Spring 2024 Training opens Monday, January 29th at 9:00 AM. With only 24 registrants accepted, classes do fill up fast.
Join us! You too can be the change you want to see in the world.