Certify Your Backyard as a Wildlife Habitat
by Watch Staff
May 11, 2010 | 907 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DOLORES – Stemming from a National Wildlife magazine article that encouraged people to garden and landscape in a way that would restore and sustain wildlife habitat, the Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program was formed in 1973. Administered by the National Wildlife Federation, the program continues today and is now known as the Certified Wildlife Habitat program, which educates people about the benefits of creating and restoring natural landscapes for humans and wildlife alike.

Four Seasons Greenhouse and Nursery, located halfway between Cortez and Dolores, was recently certified as a National Wildlife Habitat. To be accepted as a certified site, Four Seasons needed to provide food sources (native plants, seeds, etc.), water sources (birdbaths, ponds, etc.), places for cover (thickets, rockpiles, birdhouses), places to raise young (dense shrubs, vegetation, nesting boxes), and participate in sustainable gardening methods (mulch, compost, rain garden, chemical-free fertilizers, etc.).

“We’ve always known the grounds at Four Seasons were a special place and a habitat for all kinds of wildlife. That’s one of the reasons we chose to move here,” says Vic Vanik, who co-owns Four Seasons with his wife, Gail. “Everything from fox to eagles call our place home. We have 20 acres of habitat on which they can live and thrive. It’s fun watching the geese in the nursery during the spring months, or to sit in the park and watch a momma skunk and her babies make their way across the growing areas in the evenings.”

The Certified Wildlife Habitat program is available to anyone interested in making a commitment to conserving wildlife – individuals, organizations, communities, even schools. Many may find they are already qualified for the certification, which is a simple process available on the NWF’s website.

At Four Seasons, “Although much of our property has been landscaped, and we mow the lawns and maintain the property, there are several areas on our grounds that are kept pretty close to their natural state,” explains Vanik. “Four ponds provide drinking water and help to draw animals and birds to the area. The grasses around those ponds provide shelter and cover for protection and serve as an area in which to raise young. Food such as berries and fruit are abundant, not only in the two orchards, but are also provided by any trees and shrubs in the nursery which remain unsold at the time of harvest. Some years it’s a real struggle to keep the cherries from being totally eaten by the birds.”

Vanik gives credit to Four Season’s previous owners Joy and Larry Keeling for creating “a beautiful place when they laid out the plans for the garden center and nursery. We’re thrilled to be able to continue to provide a place for both people and wildlife to visit and enjoy.”

For more information about the Certified Wildlife Habitat program, visit the National Wildlife Federation’s website at www.nwf.org. Four Seasons Greenhouse and Nursery is located at 26650 Road P in Dolores. They may be reached at 970/565-8274 or visit their website at www.fourseasonsgreenhouse.com.
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