January – Do a home inspection for water leaks in toilets and faucets. It is estimated that 90% of all water used in a single-family home during a three-month winter averaging period goes into the sewer system and that the remaining 10% is used for drinking, cooking, landscaping, and other outside uses.

February – Place a rain barrel or extension on the roof downspout to catch or redirect rainwater. Use it to water your garden and houseplants. Consider installing drip irrigation. Remember, we are in a drought.

March – Watch for things that go into your trash that should go into the recycle bin including plastic bags (recycle at your grocer; better yet start carrying reusable shopping bags). Cut up six-pack rings, slash yogurt cups, lids back on glass containers, avoid buying Styrofoam. Start a compost bin.

April – Consider xeriscaping your decorative garden and yard with drought-tolerant native plants, and flowers or bushes that are natural deterrents to bugs. Help Monarch Butterfly migration by planting milkweed.

May – Keep in mind those soil-scratching songbirds and the occasional little owl that may be utilizing your garden as a hunting ground. The poisonous insecticides we use in, on, and around our yards and gardens can migrate up the food chain (all the way up to us). Instead of toxic weed killers, how about a little exercise and elbow grease to pull up those weeds!

June – Summer parties and picnics ? Plan ahead with an eye towards recycling and reducing your food waste. Use paper plates not plastic, find one with biodegradable content, or better yet reusable. A water jug with paper cups instead of plastic disposable cups or individual plastic water bottles. Buy reusable personal water bottles.

July – When enjoying our lakes and rivers, pack out what you pack in, everything – even your garbage. Pick up what others have left behind especially monofilament.

August – Find an opportunity to educate your family, friends, neighbors and home-owners’ association about the dangers of sticky traps, rodenticides, and seasonal tree trimming.

September – Switching to non-lead fish line sinkers and non-lead hunting ammunition can potentially save a condor, bald eagle, hawk or mammal from lead poisoning as a result of scavenging.

October – Start planning your wildlife-friendly holiday decorations. Did you know that small owls and songbirds can get tangled in Halloween webbing ? How about a birdseed wreath this year?

November – There is a 25% average increase in landfill trash and food waste between the holidays of Thanksgiving and the New Year. Look at ways your household can reduce, reuse, and recycle before, during, and after the holidays.

December – Reconsider your gift-giving habits. Why not donate time or money to a nonprofit group or any organization that supports and works for your environmental beliefs and goals.

Resources: The archives of Nature News found at www.libertywildlife.org for more in-depth recycle and reuse suggestions along with helpful website resources. This article reprinted in part from Wing Beats 2011 and 2010.


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