|Photo: Ellen Barker Pattillo, CWF photo club member|
May 24 is just around the corner, and we all know what that means. Time to get up to the cottage! Why not show your cottage some love during the long weekend by making it a little more wildlife- and eco-friendly, as well as easier to maintain in the summer months?
Beef Up Your Buffer
Planting a rich buffer along the shoreline can prevent pesticides from seeping into your waterway, stop soil erosion in its tracks and offer habitat for wildlife. What are you waiting for? Roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty planting the following:
Trees and Shrubs
Planting trees and shrubs along the shoreline can offer important sources of nourishment, nesting habitat and protection from predators and harsh weather. Moreover, they can help improve water quality by filtering out nasty pollutants and stopping erosion. Popular trees and shrubs for shoreline properties include cedars, white pine, maples, willows, serviceberries and red osier dogwood. Read more about what they can offer to the critters at your cottage.
What can posies do for your lake? Plenty! Vegetation that grows along the shoreline helps small mammals take cover from predators and the seeds; the nuts and fruits that the plants provide keep their tummies full too. Some of our favourite shoreline plants include marsh marigold, joe-pye weed, sensitive fern, asters and sedges. Find out why!
Cottage Time Is Sacred. Don’t Spend It Mowing the Lawn!
Did you know that 8 million hectares of North American ground are lawns? That’s a lot of ground! And just think of all the upkeep they require. You’ve got to mow them frequently, and when pests attack many Canadians turn to pesticides. Not only do all those chemicals kill off the pests, but they also affect other beneficial insects, like butterflies. Moreover, when it rains, the pesticides working overtime on your lawn will run off into your lake, upsetting the watery habitat. Why not swap your lawn for a lush and colourful butterfly meadow instead? By planting native plants including grasses, wildflowers, shrubs and trees, you’ll create a haven for butterflies. There are plenty of beautiful plants that will attract the winged wonders to your property. Plant milkweed to attract monarchs, violets for fritillaries, nettle for admirals and angelwings and buckwheat for coppers. Not only will you enjoy the beauty of these delicate pollinators on your property, but you’ll also be able to retire your lawnmower!
Create a Watery Wonderland
Don’t forget your lake! Emergent vegetation, plants that grow up out of the water, are important sources of protection and nourishment for dragonflies, hummingbirds, bees, birds and even muskrats and beavers. Our picks? Blue flag iris, common cattail, water smartweed, floating arrowhead and pondweed. Check out the perks of these aquatic beauties.
Of course, aquatic vegetation is also important to fish habitat since it offers nurseries for young fish, nourishment, shelter from predators and even spawning areas. Pickerelweed, yellow pond lily and coontail are great choices for aquatic species.
Vote for Cottage Country
The Canadian Wildlife Federation loves Canada’s cottage country too. We love it so much that we are embarking on a project, aptly named “Love Your Lake,” in partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Watersheds (CSW), that will educate and engage shoreline property owners in steps they can take to become better shoreline stewards and improve the health of their lake. We’re in the running for a $100,000 grant from the Shell Fuelling Change Challenge, but we still need all the help we can get with your votes! Help CWF make a difference in the conservation of Canada’s beloved lakes by voting today!