National Wildlife Federation’s ® Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and Other Backyard Wildlife by David Mizejewski  

This beautifully illustrated book provides an introductory overview on how to design a garden that is good for people, animals, plants, and the Earth. Chock-full of useful information, it helps gardeners understand the value of native plants over invasive exotics, the importance of achieving an ecological balance in your garden or backyard, and how providing for wildlife’s basic needs (food, water, cover, and places to raise young) can be an extremely rewarding experience for the gardener turned backyard naturalist.

Mizejewski’s holistic approach includes educational, fun, and easy steps to make your garden a haven for you, your family, and myriad wildlife including pollinators, reptiles, bats, insects, and birds. Although not Alaska-specific, it offers helpful advice on interesting subjects such as landscape design, container gardening, composting, managing pests, butterfly gardening, creating a stormwater wetland, adding a garden pond, and building container water gardens.

Step-by-step family-friendly projects include: building nesting boxes for birds, bees, and bats; houses for frogs, toads, and salamanders; making and maintaining four-season birdbaths; developing a brush pile; and creating easy bird feeders that can double as holiday ornaments and decorations for your garden year-round. The book concludes with a glossary of scientific and gardening terms, as well as instructions on how to become certified with the National Wildlife Federation as an official Backyard Wildlife Habitat.

Over the years, my family and I have successfully implemented most of the design recommendations described in this book and completed most of the projects offered, turning our home and other properties into wonderful wildlife habitats. Thanks in part to this book, I have successfully certified my home and other properties with several local and national organizations, including the National Wildlife Federation and the North American Butterfly Association, among others.   Additionally, I still use the book today when I teach gardening classes, or help individuals or organizations design gardens and certify their properties.

Overall, this is an excellent generic book for beginners, full of practical ideas and activities suited for the whole family and I highly recommend it.

About Dr. Martha Martinez
Dr. Martha Martinez enjoys hiking, gardening, traveling, teaching, and spending time in nature. She is a seasoned Mindfulness Educator, Gardener, and Practitioner.  She is also a National Wildlife Federation Habitat Steward, University of Florida IFAS Certified Florida Master Naturalist, University of Florida IFAS Certified Florida Master Gardener, University of Alaska Master Gardener in Training, and Tri-County Sustainability Steward. You will not find her online, on Facebook, or on Twitter, but out in nature mindfully gardening or enjoying the trails.

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