Our blog’s purpose is to
- Celebrate nature in our yards
- Discuss how to make your yard a healthier habitat for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife
- Describe wildlife happenings in our yards
- Encourage use of native plants – the essential foundation of any functioning ecosystem
- Provide information about growing local (southeastern Pennsylvania) native plants
- Inform readers about events, books, and other resources
Who we are
We are Edie Parnum and Barb Elliot, co-founders (in 2002) of the Backyards for Nature program of the Valley Forge Audubon Society, which serves Southeastern PA. We provide ideas for making yards more wildlife-friendly, give presentations to local groups, write articles about backyard habitat and attracting wildlife, offer on-site consultations for improving backyard habitat, and assist others in obtaining backyard habitat certification.
We are both certified National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Habitat Stewards and have had training in gardening for wildlife and native plants at various workshops and conferences. Our yards have been NWF-certified Backyard Wildlife HabitatsTM since the 1990s. Each of our yards is also certified as a Monarch WaystationTM, providing resources for all life stages of monarch butterflies. We both regularly volunteer as citizen scientists for Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s Project FeederWatch, and were volunteer birders during the PA Breeding Bird Atlas project.
Edie is Ornithology Chairperson for the Valley Forge Audubon Society, a bird walk leader for Valley Forge Audubon Society and the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, and has been the compiler for the Valley Forge Audubon Christmas Bird Count. She has observed 119 bird species on her property, and dozens of butterfly species. Barb’s yard counts include more than 85 bird species and 25 butterfly species. Barb was a board member of the Habitat Resource Network of Southeast Pennsylvania and an amateur researcher for Bat Conservation International’s Bat House Research Project. She is passionate about attracting birds, butterflies, bees, dragonflies, frogs, toads, bats and other wildlife to her property and sharing that experience with others.
Why this blog?
Since January 2002, as the Backyards for Nature program of Valley Forge Audubon Society, we have given more than 50 presentations to environmental organizations, gardening clubs, and community groups, written 55 articles about attracting and helping birds, butterflies, and other wildlife in one’s yard, and Edie has personally visited 53 properties to offer advice to homeowners about how to make their yards more wildlife-friendly. Through this blog, we would like to continue the conversation with a wider audience in southeastern Pennsylvania. We hope you will find it useful and visit frequently.