The following model will help you plan a shoreline project:
- Bring together observations recorded during your field trip, plus any other research.
- Pinpoint problems needing solutions, such as an exotic species invasion or shoreline erosion.
- Determine if any of the four key wildlife habitat elements — food, water, shelter, and space — is insufficient. Are year-round food sources available? Is the water polluted or too warm owing to a lack of overhanging vegetation? Does wildlife have adequate shelter to nest, hide from predators, and take cover from harsh weather? Is there enough space for plants to grow and for animals to raise their young?
- Form a vision of how to restore habitat. Brainstorm solutions with schoolmates. For example, consider replanting a barren site with a vegetation buffer.
- Choose appropriate projects.
- Consult with experts, like biologists, and conservation officers.
- If natural shorelines have vanished from your community, do additional research. Find out what kinds of vegetation, animals, and food webs once existed along local shorelines by consulting local libraries and historical societies.
Draw up a shoreline action strategy
- Plan to supply one or more of the four key habitat elements: food, water, shelter, and space.
- Aim for diversity. An array of structures and plant communities in a variety of patterns, such as clumps, thickets, and edges, will attract a wider assortment of species.
- Plant trees, wildflowers, grasses, and aquatic plants indigenous to your area to help conserve the local gene pool.
- Share your plan with others (for example, teachers, parents, schoolmates, and community members).
- Submit your plan to the Canadian Wildlife Federation.
Get the go-ahead
- Obtain permission from your municipality or landowners before carrying out your project.
- Ask bylaws inspectors about local regulations.
Implement your plan
- The more people involved in carrying out your plan, the greater your chances of success. Develop partnerships by enlisting parents, seniors, and other community members.
- Ask local businesses and organizations, such as nurseries and wildflower societies, to donate services.
- A successful habitat strategy doesn’t come from a cookbook approach. Trial and error are vital ingredients.
- Take slides before, during, and after your activities.
- Long after you’ve implemented your plan, check regularly to ensure that planting projects are well nurtured and that building projects are in good repair.
- Blow your horn by writing articles on your progress for a local paper or by holding media events.
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