I am listening to the wind howl around our house and enjoying a quiet evening at home. As we are taking a hiatus from the volunteer work days for the habitat project for a while, I wanted to thank our volunteers again for how generous they have been with their time and also for their continued commitment to helping connect kids with nature and of course providing much needed habitat for wildlife.
We will resume volunteer work at the habitat on Saturday March 23rd, which also happens to coincide with National Wildlife Week (March 18-24). As our theme for National Wildlife Week this year is Branching Out for Wildlife: Trees and their value for people and wildlife, we will have a special presentation on March 23 from the City of Austin’s Forestry Department.
We will also be planting some gorgeous plants and adding the very important shrub or understory layer to our habitat. We will be adding the groundcover made up of forbs and grasses later. Some of the species we will be planting on the 23rd include:
- Flame Acanthus
- Texas Lantana
- Shrubby Boneset
- Fragrant Sumac
- American Beautyberry
- Rock Rose
- Roughleaf Dogwood
- And more….
Layered vegetation is very important when creating a habitat because different layers provide food and cover for different species. For example, owls, woodpeckers, thrushes and warblers hang out at the canopy layer (in the taller trees) provided by Cedar Elms, Burr Oaks and Pecans. Mockingbirds, cardinals and wrens prefer the under-story or shrub layer provided by Agarita, American Beautyberry, and Roughleaf Dogwood, and finally seed eating birds such as finches will enjoy what we call the groundcover which is made up of various native forbs and grasses.
As we have much of the infrastructure in place- thanks in large part to the efforts of our terrific volunteers-we are now beginning to add the bulk of the plants. Before we know it, the habitat will begin to take on a life of its own. I look forward to sharing some more colorful photos!