Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘native species’

Bill Proposed to Encourage Homeowners to Create and Maintain Wildlife-Friendly Yards

Monday, July 20th, 2015
Native Species Habitat Bill Passes in the Assembly

By: McKenzie Cloutier, Special Events and Fundraising Intern


Golden-winged warbler. Photograph by Evan Madlinger

Of great interest to New Jersey homeowners, the Garden State’s General Assembly recently passed a native species habitat bill. This bill, pending further action in the Senate, encourages homeowners to create and maintain more wildlife-friendly yards. In hopes of creating more livable habitats for New Jersey’s wildlife, this bill includes a certificate program that promotes the growth of native plant species in landowners’ yards.


Under the provisions of this bill, landowners would be encouraged to grow and preserve native plant species that provide natural habitats for New Jersey’s other important species. In addition, this bill would also defend certified landowners against any municipal ordinances. For example, the bill would defend a landowner from an ordinance that calls for the removal of certain native plants or “weeds.”
The native species habitat bill not only benefits New Jersey’s wildlife, but homeowners as well, by reducing maintenance and chemical treatment costs. Under this program, yards will require less mowing and maintenance, and pesticide use is discouraged. With such changes, landowners could experience significant reductions in their usual yard maintenance costs, while helping to conserve local wildlife.


The native species habitat bill encourages New Jersey residents to become active participants in the preservation of wildlife. At the Conserve Wildlife Foundation, we encourage landowners to create wildlife-friendly backyards, and we are involved in helping private landowners to do so. Our wildlife biologist Kelly Triece works in partnership with United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) to assist private landowners in managing existing cropland, forestland, and pastureland to best meet wildlife habitat needs or in establishing new wildlife habitat areas. Depending on the goal of the landowner, these programs can either help create or preserve pollinator, woodland, wetland and grassland habitats for many different wildlife species.

In particular, CWF biologists work with forest landowners to enhance young forest habitats on private lands. Young forest habitats are imperative for many birds, especially the Golden-winged warbler, a species of particular concern in New Jersey. The open canopy of a young forest also provides food such as berries, insects and small mammals to newly fledged birds, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, reptiles, black bears, bobcats, and butterflies.


Since 2008, CWF, NRCS and other partners have collaborated with landowners to create or restore over 225 acres of Golden-winged warbler habitat in New Jersey!

Want to get involved and help conserve wildlife on your property? Here are ten tips on how to create a wildlife-friendly habitat in your own backyard:

  • Allow native plants to grow.
  • Create a brush pile for ground nesting birds or small mammals such as chipmunks or mice.
  • Install a pond to benefit birds, frogs, salamanders, and aquatic vegetation.
  • Create a meadow for wildlife by choosing not to mow a section of your yard.
  • Plants trees and shrubs to provide food and cover for wildlife.
  • Buy a bird bath.
  • Remove invasive or non-native plants.
  • Refrain from using pesticides. Try composting!
  • Hang bird feeders.
  • Obtain a bird house.


Visit our website for more tips on how to create a wildlife-friendly backyard.


McKenzie Cloutier is the Special Events and Fundraising Intern for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Ponderlodge: Before/After

Monday, October 15th, 2012

It’s been several years since the old Ponderlodge Golf Course was purchased by the Green Acres Program. After being slated for use as a satellite campus for Stockton College the old lodge and other buildings are long gone from the site. Today, the site is managed for wildlife and outdoor recreation. The old paved cart paths make it a magnet for local residents to easily explore it’s features. We’re delighted to be working with NJ Fish & Wildlife to enhance the habitat on site.  This past week we planted over 2,700 native species in an area we call the “Backyard Habitat Demonstration Site.” It’s in an area where the old lodge used to be located. The purpose of the site is for visitors to learn about features they themselves can install in their own backyards to benefit wildlife. We have 6 main features: Forested habitat, Scrub-shrub, Wildflower meadow, Pond (not yet installed), Nectar producing plants, and a brush pile. The features will be highlighted by interpretive signs and we hope to get volunteers to help maintain the site in the future.

BEFORE: The old lodge at the former Ponderlodge Golf Course in Villas, New Jersey in 2008. © Ben Wurst


DURING: Shortly after demolition in April 2011. A bare landscape with no value to wildlife at all… © Ben Wurst



AFTER: Volunteers and staff planted over 2,700 native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses for wildlife. © Ben Wurst