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Photo: Cathy Taibbi

In Greater Atlanta, as well as the rest of the country, new subdivisions, strip malls and roads are obliterating vital wildlife habitat.

Creatures as diverse as birds, butterflies and tree frogs, to name just a few, struggle to squeeze into whatever remaining natural areas are left after we clear forests, dam streams and pave over living, breathing earth.

Remember when Governor Sonny Perdue sacrificed hundreds of acres of the last remaining prime black bear habitat in Middle Georgia

Photo: Cathy Taibbi

 to make way for still more housing and development projects, despite provisions that had been made to sell the former paper-company tract as a park?

So what can the average homeowner, like you or me, do to make a difference? A lot, as it turns out. As important as it is to preserve large natural tracts, the micro-habitats laced throughout a species’ range can make the difference between existence and extinction.

Even a small urban lot can become a haven for wildlife if one provides areas of cover, appropriate native vegetation, food sources and fresh water. Sometimes protecting just one little-known species can have a positive ripple-effect, enhancing the area for increasingly diverse populations of wild plants and animals.

Stay tuned for future stories on just how to build your own backyard wildlife oasis.

Need more? Organizations such as the National Wildlife Federation, Audubon Society and others can provide specific recommendations for species in your area that are in special need, and the requirements necessary to turn your yard into an official Backyard Habitat. So don’t feel powerless to make a difference. Get started turning your own yard into an Urban Wildlife Sanctuary, and then try to guess who’ll be coming to dinner!