Friday, May 1, 2009

The Wilderness of Spring

My fellow blogger, e.r.dunhill, at Blue Island Almanack has a wonderful post today "Where the Wild Things Are" that tells about the National Wildlife Federation's certified wildlife habitat program for individuals and organizations.

I was so excited when I read this. We have about 3/4 an acre with a lot of mature trees (and plenty of young one's too), tangled thickets of blackberry and wild rose, blow-downs (from last summer's storms), and unmown islands of native plants around our big trees. We have lots of plants that provide pollen, seeds, and even berries.

I followed the link and discovered that our property already qualifies to be certified, and was already to click the button, donate, and get a sign. Then I discovered that what I consider deliberate choices to provide good land stewardship and habitat, my husband as a badge of shame.

John thinks he's suppose to have a yard that looks like those of everyone else in the neighborhood -- with nature properly beaten into submission. He fears that the neighbors will think that the reason our yard doesn't look like all the neighbors' yards is because he is too lazy to take care of it. It would seem that despite his conversion to Buddhism, that old Protestant work ethic still has him firmly in its grip.

So he doesn't want a sign that would call attention to our yard. I thought it would be a good thing to generate questions and perhaps create "teaching moments." But the last thing John wants is for anyone to ask him about his yard.

Part of the problem with changing to a greener, more environmentally sound society is that so many Americans hold cultural values and attitudes that put them at odds with nature. Nature is viewed as the enemy of civilization. My husband is only one of millions of men in America (and dozens in our neighborhood) who equate responsible middle/working class masculine adulthood with beating back nature so create a manicured lawn.

Please check out erd's post, and click on the links. You too many have a yard that is already a wildlife habitat, or can achieve this with some minimal effort. It's a worthy activity, whether or not you get your habitat certified.

3 comments:

Qaro said...

Dang. If your husband is anything like my husband, he's going to be out there all weekend cleaning everything up. Does your whole lawn have to be certifiable? Maybe you could just do a back part and put up the sign? Wait, if you did, the neighbors might get upset, "Those people are drawing in the deer that are eating my garden!" Sigh. Every little thing turns into a big issue.

Sue said...

Actually it is okay to have mown yard, just as long as there are areas that are left wild. Unfortunately due to all the strip-mining in our locality the deer are long gone. Bunnies, raccons, oppossoms, ground squirrels, and lots and lots of birds abound. We used to have a box turtle that had our yard on its rounds, but she has disappeared in recent years.

Qaro said...

That strip mining is awful. You hang on to your wildlife area.