by Nicole Finnicum
The fourth week of Nature Near You, Sanibel Sea School’s e-newsletter, included a week-long unit on backyard wildlife.
Through emails delivered at 9 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Nature Near You participants learned how to encourage birds, butterflies, and bees to their backyards through simple, at-home projects.
On Monday, Marine Science Educator and avid birder, Kealy McNeal, kicked off the week with a fun way to entice birds to visit our backyards. McNeal shared steps on how to create a bird feeder using all-natural materials, including a hollowed-out orange, a few sticks, and some twine. We learned that during migration and breeding season food is in high demand for birds, so right now is the perfect time to create a backyard feeder for our hungry friends. Kealy also taught us that birds play a big role in seed dispersal for plants.
Wednesday’s e-newsletter was all about pollinators – butterflies, bees, and the role they play in plant reproduction. Pollinators often visit plants for a nectar reward and transfer pollen from plant to plant in the process. McNeal shared a unique way to encourage pollinators to your backyard by creating a nectar sponge, which is an activity that kids can do with a little bit of help from their parents at home. One important takeaway from this lesson is that bee populations are declining around the world, but there are several ways that people can do their part to save the bees in their backyards.
On Friday, we featured one final way that people can attract birds to their backyards. Birds need a dependable source of fresh water for drinking and bathing and a bird bath is a great way to provide this resource. McNeal built her very own bird bath with items commonly found around the house and shared ways to keep it in top shape to attract birds.
“Bird baths are a great way to attract birds that don’t eat seeds and wouldn’t otherwise come to your feeders,” McNeal said. “So, it is a great way to increase the diversity of birds that visit your backyard.”
McNeal had birds visit both her orange feeder and bird bath within one week! With just a few simple household items, it is so easy to turn your backyard into a wildlife sanctuary and provide essential resources for birds during much-needed events like migration.
Not only were these projects fun and gratifying, but we also learned about the closely intertwined role that pollinators and birds have with plants. And, many insects like bees, are essential pollinators for plants that provide human food, so it is important for all of us to understand the importance of protecting these species.
Nature Near You will continue throughout the school closures and be delivered via email. If you are interested in joining the mailing list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org If you missed out on an issue of Nature Near You, all of the content can be accessed at https://www.sanibelseaschool.org/nature-near-you.
Nature Near You is Sanibel Sea School’s offering to the community. If you would like to support our efforts, please visit (https://www.sanibelseaschool.org/support-the-cause or email for more information!
Part of the SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) Family, Sanibel Sea School’s mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time.