[email protected]: Pam Eddy
The sound of birds calling blends with the gentle lapping of waves along the shoreline. The pop of vibrant color from wildflowers serves as a backdrop for the greenery of sedges along the waterfront.
This is the place that Pam Eddy is lucky enough to call home. Due to her environmental ethic over the last 18 years, she has strived to make her ¾-acre Lakewood property a home for many species of wildlife, from turtles and wood ducks to tiny monarch caterpillars.
Pam has always been interested in The Land Conservancy (TLC) of McHenry County’s natural area restoration work. TLC is a local nonprofit land trust whose mission is to care for the county’s natural lands and waterways by working with private property owners and additional partners, providing education opportunities, and preserving and restoring land.
Pam invited a staff member from TLC to walk her property as part of their [email protected] program to learn more about plant identification and get suggestions on more native plants to incorporate into her yard. Pam’s property qualified for certification through the program and was awarded a sign to help spark conversation about the benefits of landscaping with native plants. Also, she was McHenry County’s 100th property certification since the program was implemented a few years ago. A checklist and more information about the [email protected] program is available at www.conservemc.org.
“Native plants have existed in a certain area for thousands of years and have developed relationships with local insects, wildlife, and other plants,” explains Sarah Michehl, community engagement specialist for TLC. “They filter our water, feed our local pollinators and other wildlife, and provide beauty and function year-round.” It is possible to design a manicured garden with these plants, or to use them on a larger scale and achieve a more natural look. Either way, they require no additional water or fertilizer and can even trap carbon in the soil.
Whether you have a tiny yard in a neighborhood setting or many acres in a rural part of the county, your property can make a larger environmental impact. Pam Eddy’s yard is just one in a patchwork of properties stretching across the county where wildlife can have their survival needs met. She enjoys watching the plants as they change through the seasons, as well as the birds and butterflies they attract. She even got to witness wood ducklings making their first leap out of the nest boxes she erected!
Check your local library for the book Bringing Nature Home, by Douglas Tallamy to get more in-depth information about the impact that backyard native plants can have on restoring balance to our neighborhood ecosystems. “If everyone could plant a few native plants, think of the impact this could make,” says Michehl, “Kudos to you, Pam Eddy, for bringing conservation home!”