With Ranger Steve Mueller of Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, Cedar Springs
BY WORC MEMBER AMANDA WELSH
On Monday, September 17, ecologist and “butterfly guy” Ranger Steve Mueller addressed the crowd with simple but impactful ways to increase biodiversity and create our own backyard sanctuaries.
A local treasure, Steve shared his story and gave us a photographic introduction of how his 61 acres at Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, named after his beloved dog, came to be.
Here are Steve’s top tips that anyone can use to restore biodiversity at home.
1. Size doesn’t matter. Whether you have acres to devote to a nature sanctuary or a 10×10 patch, any space dedicated to nature goes a long way to preserve, protect and sustain the living things.
2. Diversity is key. Diverse spaces bring diverse insects, birds and other creatures. Within your space, determine how you will encourage diversity through a variety plant species and habitats, like open and covered areas.
3. Less mowing and more growing. Leave a patch wild and see what happens. What will nest? What insects will you find? Nature will find a place to live and thrive.
4. You don’t have to be a purist. Love native plants? Great. Love non-native plants? That’s great, too. Non-natives can provide benefit as well. Keep them contained, controlled and managed, but never plant invasives.
5. Enjoy the mystery. Our yards, can be mysterious sanctuaries with known and unknown inhabitants. What adventure awaits and what will we discover if we allow biodiversity to thrive? Keep observing and learning.
6. Start kids young. Get kids interested and excited about nature early. Get them involved in the mystery and encourage the love of the natural world around them.
Steve’s call to action and ask of everyone is: How much of your land will you set aside for nature? With majority of land dedicated to private property, we have a responsibility to take care of creation. Living is hard. Anyone can help.
Read more from Ranger Steve in the Cedar Springs Post:
Ranger Steve’s Reading List
Michigan Shrubs and Vines: A Guide to the Species of the Great Lakes Region
Burton V. Barnes, Christopher E. Dick, Melanie W. Gunn
Michigan Butterfliers and Skippers: A Field Guide and Reference
Mogens C. Nielsen
Garden Insects of North America: The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs