Rewilding Suburbs

Many people think that suburbs are the worst possible plan for the environment. That may be true now, but image wildlife habitat on every lawn and green space and it might not be so bad. In this article, the author recognizes that the suburban lawns in Florida are not wildlife friendly. However, she provides hope for wildlife through programs such as Florida Yards & Neighbors—a program of the Florida Extension Service of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. This program provides workshops to educate homeowners on how to care for their land responsibly through careful maintenance and reducing pollution. It offers, “information on plant choices, fertilizing, watering, pest problems and landscape design for an environmentally friendly yard.” Some of these approaches include the using native plants which provide more habitat for wildlife, decreasing the amount of land the house takes up by creating two story houses instead of one story houses, reducing pesticides that poison animals, letting your grass grow wild, providing food for wildlife through plants, and incorporate the sound of running water in yards.

I think that this idea of designing a yard to benefit wildlife is so important to rewildling urban areas. The majority of land in suburbs are private homes with cookie-cutter mowed lawns—that’s why it’s a perfect place to start. Parks and natural areas around the houses are great—but that’s not enough. If the people are involved in managing wildlife areas in their own homes, it can connect them to the surrounding wildlife while sustaining it. The article says that most people who have learned less toxic and alternative fertilizer methods embrace the lifestyle. Therefore, it seems like a matter of education. The more homeowners who know about wildlife issues and know methods to rewild their own yards, the more the approach will be applied. Houses with properly mowed lawns did not always exist and this idea can be changed. This habitat restoring approach is new and the idea must start somewhere and spread. If one whole community adopted this practice of rewilding their yards, it is possible that the next community will—and like a domino effect, the next will and before you know it, suburbs may not be that environmentally horrifying after all.


-Laura Stalter

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