Habitat Heroes

Cape Conservation Corps wants to recognize good stewards of the land by highlighting your conservation efforts.  We want to know what steps you have taken to make your landscape wildlife friendly.  We believe even the smallest changes can make a big difference and have a positive impact on the environment. If we decrease our own footprint we can begin to transform the natural world and build positive connections.

Your yards do not to have to be 100% native or completely converted to a nature-friendly landscaping. We are looking for people who are making changes to a more sustainable, healthy habitat for wildlife to flourishEach quarter we will select a Habitat Hero to feature on our website, and Facebook page.

Habitat Hero – April 2018

Laura & Don Schrank

Laura Shrank, CCC and CSC Garden Club member earned her Master Gardener certification last year and has not stopped learning since!  She has attended workshops on native seed collecting, a screening of a the documentary Hometown Habitat, participated in a native plant discussion group with several like-minded conservationists and attends regular meetings of the Master Gardeners. She has turned her knowledge into a model ecosystem—a landscape teeming with native plant species and the wildlife that has co-evolved with those plants.  Of course she claims it is “a work in progress”, with much work ahead of her Laura is certainly headed in the right direction.

She started by removing invasives growing on her property, including English ivy, Oriental bittersweet and Periwinkle (Vinca) to make room for natives shrubs and plants with an emphasis on pollinator friendly perennials.  Laura has added between 60-70 native plant species to her landscape including Vernonia noveboracensis- New York Ironweed, Asclepsias -milkweed, Liatris -blazing star, Physostegia virginiana -obedient plant, Soldiago -goldenrod and Physocarpus opulifolius -nine bark, a beautiful year round interest shrub.  All of these native plants are attracting a variety of native insects and other wildlife.  She is able to keep track of all these beautiful plants with attractive signs she designed using stamped metal attached to a piece of pine.  The tags include the Latin names so she can use them as a science lesson for her home-schooled children (they know the Latin names better than the common names!)

Asclepsias –milkweed

Laura’s yard, along with the support and hard work of her husband Don, earned the Baywise Certification last year because of her commitment to using bay friendly practices.  In addition to removing invasives and replacing them with natives, she has also installed a rain barrel and drip irrigation on her raised vegetable beds to conserve water, cancelled her lawn spraying service, added insulation to the attic to conserve energy, and has been composting food waste to use a valuable additive to her soil.  Don, her husband has been busy building a retaining wall and putting in swales and berms to control soil erosion and retain water on a tricky corner of the property, adding plants that will benefit from these conditions!

With all she accomplished, Laura is still not done.  Her plans this year include adding an additional native plant beds around her mailbox, around the maple tree in the center of the yard, and another on the side of the house.  She is hoping to continue to remove a patch of invasive English ivy behind the retaining area as well as a few other lingering invasive patches.  She started last year by layering on a ton of mulched wood chips to smother those hard to kill vines! Laura’s hard work will continue to payoff as a welcoming habitat for local flora and fauna and benefit our local ecosystem with her conservation choices.  Thanks Laura for being a Habitat Hero!

Monarch emerging

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