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One of the best ways to look after a habitat is to do nothing! I like the sound of that. People are very keen to tidy up their outdoor spaces. People like to have short neat grass, no messy leaves and perfectly planted hedges. The best things for wildlife are the "wild" areas. Go outside and see what signs of life you can find in different places. Compare a nice neat grass area to a meadow or long grass area. If you just stop and listen I bet you can hear a difference. On a sunny day you'll hear crickets and grasshoppers rattling their way around long grasses. Birds will be chirping from the hedges with the best food - caterpillars! Have a look for creatures living in a pile of leaves, or under a dead log - where would these creatures live if you raked up all the leaves or threw away all the dead wood? Let the grass grow longer; leave a some of it untouched. Leave the leaves for the mini-beasts - remember our food chain work - there are plenty of creatures that will "decompose" the plant material.
Another thing that you can do is sit and watch (more watching!!!!) the plants. Which plants attract the most insects? for example bees and butterflies. These are the plants that you need to plant more of! You could take some cuttings, for example from Lavender plants. In the past people have bought plants that come from different countries, and sometimes these plants do not suit our insects. Remember how animals are adapted to their environment? The insects in the UK will prefer plants that grow naturally here. Also, insects are a very important part of many food chains. Insects pollinate flowers to make our own food as well as providing food for birds. Don't forget that trees and hedgerows are also a very important part of our environment. Anyone can get native trees to make new hedgerows from the Woodland Trust. School and community groups can apply for FREE! woodland trust free community tree packs - Google Search
So this weekend - if anyone at home says "Right - I'm going to cut the lawn, chop down those nettles and tidy up those rotten logs" you can tell them to make a cup of tea, sit down in a chair and enjoy watching wildlife instead!" (If they have to cut the lawn - ask them not to cut it very short and to leave some nettles and rotting logs in a safe place for the insects.)
Photographs: Worm (Top) and Bees (Middle)