Dr. Court Whelan, NHA’s Director of Sustainability and Conservation Travel, recently gave the entire office an overview of monarch butterfly conservation. Our staff eagerly listened as Court explained that one of the largest conservation challenges that these orange and black butterflies face is habitat loss, especially in North America. By the end of Court’s talk, each Nat Hab team member felt inspired to do more to help create habitats, and that’s exactly what we did.
This past Earth Day, Nat Hab employees and their families gathered together to build pollinator pots and toad abodes for our local wildlife. Since habitat loss is one of the biggest contributing factors for population decline, we decided to dedicate our Earth Day to creating more homes for our backyard inhabitants.
Though Nat Hab is known for conservation efforts all over the world, helping out local Colorado critters was high on our list, as the United States is currently second worldwide for the highest number of endangered species. Corrin LaCombe, a Nat Hab Adventure Specialist and a leader of our Earth Day event, feels that it’s important to highlight local wildlife in our conservation efforts.
“While the tigers, polar bears, and pandas get a lot of attention, our local inhabitants often don’t get as much,” said Corrin. “They need our help just as badly.”
In one station, we focused on building “toad abodes” out of broken, recycled terra cotta pots for our local toads and frogs. As children and adults painted their abodes, they learned that these toads and frogs are instrumental in managing our fly and mosquito populations.
At our second station, we built pollinator pots by planting seeds in recycled pots and egg cartons to grow flowers for bees and monarch butterflies. We planted Borage, Milkweed, and Pollinator mix that were specific to our local species to ensure we were providing our pollinators with the correct plants.
Our Earth Day event was a huge success, bringing everyone from young children to grandparents together to learn about conservation and help make a difference in their communities. The number of children, families, and friends present inspired our Director of Sustainability, recognizing that this event can help teach the importance of conserving our local wildlife.
“You’re educating the next generation,” Court said. “It gives me an optimistic view on the future of our planet.”
Even the dogs got into the spirit of Earth Day!
Corrin has been organizing and leading events like this for years, motivated by the information she shares in her 2014 TEDx talk Conservation Starts at Home. Watch her talk below and be prepared to be inspired!
To make your own toad abodes at home: Find a broken or unused pot and paint the outside only to decorate your toad home. Fill the pot a quarter of the way with soil and turn the pot on its side in a cool, shady area in your backyard. Be careful not to get paint on the inside of your pots.
To make your own pollinator pots at home: Find what seeds work best for your local bee and butterfly populations. Use a small pot or recycled egg carton to plant your seeds about a quarter-inch deep. Once producing beautiful flowers, put your plants outside as pollination stops for your local pollinators.