Shorewood's Hometown Habitats

Shorewood Loves Pollinators: Growing Our Hometown Habitats

In the spring of 2018, the Conservation Committee hosted a film screening of the documentary Hometown Habitat to a full audience of eager gardeners and enthusiasts of natural lawn keepers. A first-rate panel followed the film with experts from local organizations to answer questions about how attendees could do even more to make their yards and homespaces habitat-friendly. Since then, the Conservation Committee has been collecting resident data on lawn and garden behaviors and exploring ways to educate the community on the pernicious effects of pesticide use and winter salting of sidewalks on the health of our waterways and landscapes. See our ongoing Yard Survey if you have not yet contributed a submission.

Shorewood residents already practicing natural lawn care and encouraging the growth of native perennials and other animal habitat-friendly vegetation are encouraged to register their yards as part of the Homegrown National Park, a nationwide movement to account for the good work happening in our yards and gardens. But there's always more we can do. Have you ever thought of attracting bats to your garden? Not only do bats consume mosquitoes and other pests, but they are also pollinators. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has published guides for how to build your own bat house. If you aren't yet composting your own kitchen and yard trimmings, please consider starting your own bin or subscribing to the Village-sponsored curbside organics collection program. You can even build a bug mansion to attract beneficial critters to your garden; now there's a fun project for the whole family!

The Conservation Committee suggests the following as the top six ways to make your yard and garden more sustainable.

Top Six Ways to Make Your Yard a Hometown Habitat:

  1. Plant native perennials (see Monarch way stations at the Library and Elementary Schools as examples).
  2. Install rain gardens and rain barrels to cut down on stormwater runoff.
  3. Practice home composting or subscribe to a collection service.
  4. Reduce turf grass space and increase plant species diversity in your garden beds.
  5. Avoid use of pesticides/chemical fertilizers and minimize salt application in winter.
  6. Explore inviting pollinators by installing specific nests/homes for bees, bats or other beneficial critters.

To learn more, and for additional ideas on how to make your yard pollinator friendly, come check out our annual spring event - The Pollinator Palooza - in Estabrook Park, on the third Saturday in May, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Partnering with the Shorewood Waters ProjectFriends of Estabrook Park, and Milwaukee County Parks, the Conservation Committee plans to offer a range of family-friendly activities, including bird house painting, making bee habitats, giveaways of native perennials, educational workshops, guided bird walks, and a tour of the pollinator garden. Local environmental and land-use organizations will be on hand with information about how to get involved in conservation issues as well as make your yard more pollinator friendly and sustainable. Meet us at Picnic Area #8 and bring the whole family!