Discover the 4 Components of a Wildlife Habitat in the "Garden for Wildlife" Series in 2020-2021

Food, water, shelter and places to raise young are necessary components to attract wildlife to your yard or apartment balcony. Incorporating native plants in the garden and using sustainable gardening practices, like not using pesticides and chemicals, are also important when establishing a haven for birds, butterflies and bees. Our native plant of the year in 2020 was the Vine Maple, acer cirncinatum, a versatile small tree known for its beautiful fall color that provides flowers and seeds for birds and other wildlife.

The Serviceberry, Amelanchier alnifolia, also known as Saskatoon, is our native plant of the year for 2021.  We've chosen this plant for its benefit to both humans and wildlife. It is is native in all Washington counties, all Oregon counties, northern California, and southern British Columbia. It's one of our most widespread native shrubs. It usually grows as a shrub, but can be a small single-stemmed tree.  It's perfect for in many landscape settings. including small yards. It likes sunny locations, but will do fine in partial shade. it prefers a moist, well-drained soil but tolerates a wide range of conditions.  The spring bloom is welcome addition when there are few other flowering trees.

This is a woody shrub with an erect to spreading form. It often grows to height of 12’ with an equal width. Leaves are arranged in an alternate fashion. They are simple, 1”-3” in length and have an oval to oblong shape. During the summer the leaves are green while in the fall they can turn a very pleasing red to yellow color. The flowers, which grow in clusters, are star-shaped with five petals.  These white fragrant flowers, arranged in racemes (3-20 per cluster), appear from April through July. Flowers morph to ½” bluish-purple, juicy edible berries which ripen in early summer. The berries taste similar to blueberries and can be eaten fresh or dried, and can be used to make jelly or wine.  It was a common food source among Native Americans, who used the berries as a component of mincemeat. The berries are popular with wildlife.  Serviceberry blossoms are attractive to bees and butterflies.  Because birds are attracted to the berries, these shrubs are a natural choice when trying to establish a backyard wildlife habitat.

Here’s an excellent essay The Serviceberry: An Economy of Abundance describing how plants and birds reciprocate in their offerings to each other, and how humans can learn from the reciprocity. It’s by indigenous botanist, author, and professor Robin Wall Kimmerer: https://emergencemagazine.org/story/the-serviceberry/.
She says: “I want to live in a society where the currency of exchange is gratitude and the infinitely renewable resource of kindness, which multiplies every time it is shared, rather than depreciating with use.” And “Thriving is possible...only if you have nurtured strong relations with your community.”

Composting Workshop - Coming in Spring of 2021

Learn how sustainable gardening techniques benefit both people and wildlife.

Adding native plants and perennial flowering plants to a community garden, a public park, or your home garden contributes a greater impact to the overall health of wildlife around Puget Sound. Gardens for Wildlife program addresses the need for wildlife habitat through a combination of education and stewardship activities.  The knowledge gained trough the Zoom workshops and a restoration event in a community park or community garden enables participants to successfully garden for wildlife in their own yard, garden, or apartment balcony.

"Garden for Wildife" Zoom workshops topics include:

    • 1.  Identify and control invasive non-native weeds (Delivered 10 events, including Zoom workshops and Class Graduation in the summer of 2020.)
      2.  Composting, mulching (Coming in the the Spring of 2021)
      3.  Sustainable gardening practices (Coming in the the Spring of 2021)
      4.  Edible native plants that provide food for people and wildlife (Coming in the the Spring of 2021)

This program is funded by a grant from the Port of Seattle Airport Community Ecology (ACE) fund, and produced in partnership with National Wildlife Federation, New Start Community Garden in the Highline School District, also called the "Shark Garden" after the school mascot,  City of Burien, students from all around Puget Sound and volunteers like you.

Of course, during COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, our project's social dynamic in the restoration event will be different from past events with no large group interactions, and social distancing protocols will be followed to ensure the safety of all involved.
Check out the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife program for attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other a Backyard Wildlife to your yard or apartment balcony.   Many communities around Puget Sound are a registered Community Wildlife Habitat communities.  Burien, among other cities, are working towards full certification with the National Wildlife Federation. Please consider registering your yard or balcony, as this helps your city become a Wildlife Habitat Community.

Attract Birds, Butterflies and Bees to Your Yard or Balcony with Native Plants

Native Trees, Bushes, and Shrubs, like Huckleberry and Thimble Berry, support native pollinators, birds and butterflies, as well as the migratory species that are passing through. Include these plants in your landscaping.  Here's Information about last year's project that included workshops and building a pollinator garden in Mathison Park: Birds, Butterflies and Bees for Burien.

In April of 2019 Stewards Built 2 Rain Gardens for Pollinators at the Hazel Valley Community Garden

Students from Big Picture High School in Burien look at environmental career opportunities and volunteer as a Mathison Park Steward with the Nature Stewards Program.


Youngsters from New Futures built birdhouses  to help our feathered friends, since dead trees, which provide prime nesting places, are taken down for safety reasons.