7 Tips for Helping Wildlife Where You Live

Everybody wants to save the world, but it’s hard to concentrate on combatting wildlife habitat destruction, poaching, and other issues while your job, your kids, your spouse, your friends and all the other facets of your life are constantly demanding your attention. You’ve got stuff going on. How can you possibly add a responsibility as big as the planet to your plate?

Fortunately, the task may be a little simpler than you thought. Below are a few things you can do to help the planet and the plants and animals that live there without leaving home–or putting in too much extra effort.

1. Conserve Water

Water is one of the Earth’s most valuable resources. And while it may often seem like there’s plenty to go around, that’s really not the case. Try not to water your lawn or garden when it doesn’t need it, and avoid watering during the heat of the day. You could also purchase a water-saving shower head and toilet for your bathroom. Or just take shorter showers and flush the toilet less often. Check your faucets, pipes, and hoses regularly for leaks and fix them as soon as you can. You can even elect to landscape and decorate with plants that don’t require much water. The EPA has dozens of ideas for how to conserve water in your day-to-day life.

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2. Provide Water

Similar to conserving water, providing water for wildlife is important, particularly if there’s a drought in your area. The Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology at the University of Florida recommends building a pond or a birdbath in your yard. Butterflies have very particular requirements for where they get their water, so you can also be a hero by creating a special butterfly drinking station in your yard or landscape.

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3. Attract Pollinators

Pollinators such as bees, bats, and hummingbirds are vital to the success of roughly 75% of plants. You can attract a variety of pollinators by landscaping with plants that have different colors, shapes, and seasons. Planting flowers in bunches instead of by themselves is also more likely to attract pollinators. And don’t forget to provide a habitat for your pollinating friends! The Great Pollinator Project has tips for how to provide nesting and egg-laying sites for a wide variety of pollinators.

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4. Limit Use of Chemicals and Pesticides

It’s widely known that chemicals and pesticides are harmful to the environment and wildlife, including those pollinators you just worked so hard to keep around. So while you may be proud of your immaculately manicured lawn with nary a weed in sight (or your perfect pest-free home), it may be time to put down the poison and take a more natural approach.

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5. Be Litter Free

I mean, you don’t litter. It’s them. But regardless, if there’s litter in your yard or along the road where you live, it could be harming the environment. Litter can make animals sick if ingested. Some types of trash can start fires, smother plants, and attract bacteria that may cause other health problems. Harmful substances from litter can even leak into the ground and contaminate the water that people and animals drink. It’s important to do your part by picking up your own trash, but picking up a few extra pieces of trash when you see them is a great way to do something extra for the Earth.

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6. Donate or Volunteer

There are a number of organizations dedicated to preserving wildlife habitats, ending poaching, conducting environmental studies, educating the public, and everything else in between. Whether it’s a trip abroad to help conserve wildlife or just a couple of hours helping out at your local recycling center, it’s still valuable. And if you really don’t have any time to help out, you can donate money to an organization that can accomplish the wildlife-friendly projects you wish you had time for.

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7. Use Your Voice

If you don’t like getting your hands dirty, this is the perfect activity for you. This is also the least time-consuming of our wildlife-saving tips. Pay attention to what’s in the news and be sure to vote on federal, state, and local legislation regarding the environment and wildlife. You can also use your voice by signing petitions to fund environmental research. Help save the Earth and the animals with just seconds of your valuable time by signing a petition to ban harmful chemicals, protect orcas, fund eco-friendly air conditioning research, and more.

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