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Conservation News Flash

Posted on: October 17, 2023

Leave the Leaves! And Other Fall Habitat Facts

October is National Leave the Leaves sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation!

Fallen leaves are an important habitat for many wildlife species from birds to lizards - so this fall, join in on "gardening for wildlife" with these tips to create habitat this fall.

Plant now!

Planting in the cooler weather reduces change of transplant shock with the cooler weather that slows plant growth as they enter their dormant state. This is the perfect time to plant native wildflower seeds as many native plant species need to go through a cold season in order to germinate. Keep an eye out for the Open Space Preservation Commission's Winter Sow usually held in February/March! Check out their available species and information from last year in the meantime.

Provide Fall Food & Cover

Be sure to include plants in your garden/yard that offer food and cover for birds and other wildlife during the cooler months such as berrying shrubs. There are several 'late' flowering shrubs and wildflowers such as goldenrod and asters that provide a food and nectar source for many pollinators and whose seeds serve as an important food source for birds as fall turns into winter. The more you plant, the more food you provide all year round! 

Forget About 'Normal' Fall Cleanup

LEAVE THE LEAVES! Leaf layers contain important food and habitat for salamanders, turtles, worms, butterflies, and other species. Limit deadheading and trimming so that seed heads and berries are left for birds to enjoy. Grasses and perennials with hollow stalks provide a place for pollinators and other insects to overwinter. Avoid (over) mulching as it can limit the ability of species to find a place to eat and hide. 

Want to know if a plant is native or not? Friend or foe? Check out the Native Plant Trust's GoBotany database to help you identify! 

Enjoy the Beautiful Fall Weather

Get out in nature and enjoy the leaves changing color, cooler weather, and watch the species and habitat you are supporting. Check out the Trail's Committee - Trail Maps page for information on where you can enjoy our beautiful open space in town. Please be cognizant of where dogs are and are not permitted! 

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