Plant for the pollinators that are suffering from loss of habitat. Bees need wildflowers to make honey. Butterflies and hummingbirds drink nectar as a food source, as they drink they are pollinating plants. Create a garden just for Monarch butterflies. Include these plants: milkweed, butterfly weed, Joe-pye weed, goldenrod, asters and blazing star.

Bird populations are declining. According to Ohio’s 2014 State of the Birds Report* 228 bird species are on a “watch list”, in need of immediate conservation help. Specifically to farmers, planting buffer strips along crop fields is a conservation practice that has benefits for the Northern Bobwhite. This bird occurs in agricultural landscapes, as it builds its nest on the ground in fields. Implementing best management practices such as buffer strips could help to stop the steep decline of this bird species.

Lake Erie starts in your yard! Slowing down stormwater helps water quality in rivers and lakes. Rain and snow are absorbed slowly in wildflower meadows. As the stormwater soaks into the ground, the water is filtered.

Soil remains undisturbed in prairie gardens. Less soil erosion happens during rain events when the soil has been left undisturbed. Again, this filtering process improves the quality of water.

Saving money is always a good reason to do a conservation practice. Converting lawn into a wildflower or prairie garden can save on the ongoing costs of upkeep to a lawn.

Plant a cutting flower garden for bouquets using native flowers and grasses. Purple cone flowers, ox-eye sunflower, Bee Balm, black-eyed Susan, New England Asters are included in prairie or pollinator mixes and make long lasting flower bouquets. Milkweed pods make interesting additions to fall flower arrangements.

For more information contact the Lake County Stormwater Management at 440-350-5900 or visit www.lakecountyohio.gov/smd

Adapted from article written by: Linda K. Schneider, Education Coordinator, Medina County Soil & Water Conservation District