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Outdoors Friends of Rickman Store sponsoring ‘Gardening for Wildlife’ series

Mary and Stan Polanski offered their small wildflower sanctuary in Oak Grove as a “Gardening for Wildlife’ destination. Photo by Elena CarlsonWorkshops promote backyard landscaping for wildlife.

Friends of Rickman Store (FORS) has joined an effort through National Wildlife Federation to certify backyards as “wildlife habitats” by meeting some simple, but important goals. The components for certification are to provide adequate water, food, cover, places to raise young and sustainable gardening practices.

To begin the Gardening for Wildlife Series, FORS has planned a series of workshops and certified property visits this summer and fall to support residents interested in joining the effort. You do not have to certify your yard to participate in the programs. Call Debby Boots at (827)349-5201 to register for programs, secure a certification form or to report if your property has been certified. More details at www.nwf.org/gardenforwildlife.

Following is the schedule for the series: — Monday, July 11, 6 to 8 p.m. “This Place Is For The Birds!” Visit to John and Cathy Sills’ NWF certified wildlife-friendly backyard. The Sills will give hints on how to attract a diversity of birds in all seasons with water, places for cover and to raise young. Bring binoculars. We hope to have a peek at some of John’s birdlife paintings and Cathy’s well known and much read nature book series (illustrated by John) for all ages. Meet at far end Westgate Plaza (Kmart) at 5:30 p.m. to carpool.

— Sunday, July 17, 3 to 5 p.m. “Create a Wildlife Habitat Using Native Plants” at Rickman Store. Karen Lindauer, member of the Georgia Native Plant Society and team leader at Georgia Perimeter College Botanical Gardens. Lindauer will share practical information on the importance of using native plants to promote biodiversity and encourage backyard wildlife. The program will highlight selection of native plant benefits over exotic species, the role of insects and birds in sustaining balance as well as water collection. Following the program, FORS members will serve high tea with native plant teas and goodies from the Cowee Firehouse Favorites cookbook. Attendees are asked to bring a potted native plant to exchange if you wish.

— July 27-30, North Carolina Native Plant Conference and plant sale in Cullowhee. Plant rescues from properties being bulldozed and developed are being planned. Call Debby at (828)349-5201 if interested in either. For information on Native Plant Conference, visit www.wcu.edu/5033.asp.

— Monday, Aug. 15, 5 to 7 p.m. “Meet Me At Spring Valley.” Horticulturist Bill Messina will outline plants favored by birds, butterflies and other wild critters. Following presentation, employees will conduct a tour of the nursery and offer to attendees a special discount on all native plants purchased. Spring Valley is a NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat nursery and has a wide selection of natives suited for this area. Meet at Spring Valley Nursery, 57 Saunders Road, at 5 p.m.

— Monday, Aug. 22, 6 to 8 p.m. at Rickman Store “Roll Out The Barrel, We’ll Have A Barrel Of Fun!” Doug Johnson of Macon County Soil and Water Conservation District will explain how to construct a rain garden (stormwater wetland) and potential financial assistance to homeowners and businesses. Debbie and Frank Leslie will demonstrate how to make a simple rain barrel from a plastic garbage can. Bring your own if you wish to make one on the spot. Meet at Rickman Store at 6 p.m.

— Monday, Sept. 12, 6 to 8 p.m. at Rickman Store “Save A Seed Today!” Frankabelle Scruggs and the local “greasy bean team” will demonstrate when to collect and how to save the seeds from this Appalachian heritage bean and many other regional heirlooms. Anyone with old-timey open-pollinated seeds are encouraged to come to the store to barter and tell the seed’s story. A pot of old fashioned Cowee-cooked beans will be on hand for sampling. There is interest in starting an heirloom seed bank here in Macon. Can you help?

— Sunday, Oct. 9, 2 to 4 p.m. at Rickman Store “Community Wildlife Habitat Certification” Alicia Hulse, team leader for Weaverville Wildlife Habitat, will share how the Weaverville Community Wildlife Habitat Project was initiated – and how the work of a small group of wildlife habitat enthusiasts resulted in Weaverville being recognized as the 32nd community in the country to be certified by the National Wildlife Federation. She will discuss how the project has continued to expand since certification in September 2009, highlighting involvement by other local organizations and by the Town of Weaverville. City and county leaders are invited to come and hear how this was accomplished and to learn about the potential benefits of this project to the economy and quality of life of a small community.

— Friday, Oct. 21, at Rickman Store “Huga- Bug, Hug-a-Tree, Love a Bee.” Brent Martin, Southeast Representative of The Wilderness Society, will talk about the concept of putting a value on nature’s free services. He will explain how some of these services such as intact forest stands and buffer areas are of economic value to the resilience of surrounding areas; how birds, bees, bats and many insects are not only wild pollinators but pest control agents as well; how nature’s gifts are vital to the health and sustainability of the planet; and how we as individuals, can work to protect natural systems in our own neighborhoods. Angela Martin will accompany with strumming and songs. Gardeners who have received NWF “backyard wildlife habitat” certification are invited to attend and be recognized.

Anyone interested may take a “backyard wildlife certification” form and encourage your neighbors to joi in creating more corridors for wildlife to reside and move from place to place. If you are interested in working with our committee, call Debby at (828)349-5201. You do not have to certify your backyard to attend our programs.

For information and reservations, call (828)349-5201 or (828)369-5595. Participation on a donation basis.


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