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Making the Planet a Better Place for Animals, One Backyard at a Time

Learn how to turn any backyard into a wildlife haven when “The Best of Backyard Habitat: Volume 1” flocks to DVD on Earth Day, April 22 from Genius Products and Animal Planet. Arriving for the first time on DVD, the collection highlights episodes of the do-it-yourself backyard makeover series covering techniques on attracting a variety of wildlife including birds, butterflies and other delightful creatures. The one-of-a-kind show features invaluable information regarding food and water sources, places to raise young and sustainable gardening tips to create a healthy and eco-friendly habitat for wildlife.  Upon completing the step-by-step how-to build projects to entice creatures to their outdoor space, each home is officially recognized as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat™ by the National Wildlife FederationDavid Mizejewski, co-host of this amazing series and self-proclaimed Nature geek from birth, loves the concept of this show since it restores wildlife to neighborhoods. “We as gardeners have a huge power to environmental good.” Never intending to become an author, Mizejewski surprised himself by writing a book entitled National Wildlife Federation Attracting Birds, Butterflies & Backyard Wildlife. Producers at Animal Planet realized he tapped into something the public was looking for. Many people of various ages, incomes and backgrounds have a common interest–nature. With the popularity of reality TV, Animal Planet collaborated with Mizejewski and his co-host Molly Pesce to help families, from novices to experts, create a habitat in their backyard that would attract nature.Photo Courtesy of Animal Planet A big challenge for the crew was time. It’s difficult to develop an inspirational setting when one is filming, and animals don’t have time to discover the new environments. Often producers resort to using stock photos and suggestions of what will happen, however, sometimes the results are nearly immediate. While filming “Chickadees and Toads” in Knoxville, Tenesee, for this series, the family cut tree in yard prior to the television crew’s arrival. The team members drilled a hole in the log similar to what a chickadee would look for in a home and buried log in ground. As they finished filming the episode, a chickadee flew in and checked out hole looking for a place to nest.  Just as in “The Field of Dreams,” the Natural Wildlife Federation believes “If you build it, they will come.”Mizejewski finds that the nature projects give people an additional bonus. In this society of instant gratification, it brings people back to calmness. He firmly believes that patience – moving at the pace of nature – will be rewarded. He also finds that nature projects are great for kids. Recent research shows that children spend almost 6 hrs a day inside, in front of screens. One of the reasons for this is that parents afraid to let kids out unsupervised. When you create a backyard habitat, it not only provides a place for animals, but kids have a haven in their own backyard where they can enjoy unstructured play and experience nature. The best part is that you don’t even have to live in the country to enjoy this. One can create an inviting environment on a high-rise balcony with a container garden.In his experience Mizejewski finds that millions of Americans are interested in gardening activities, but many are intimidated and don’t know where to begin. His suggestion is to start small. Stop mowing a part of the lawn in the back that can’t be seen from the road so animals can move back in, or plant a few shrubs to flowers with nectar to draw birds. According to Mizejewski, there can be massive change in our eco system if everyone did a little bit to help.For more information on starting your own natural habitat, to learn more about the National Wildlife Foundation, or to learn more about Animal Planet’s “The Backyard Habitat,” go to check out the series website. And don’t forget to treat your family by going to the store to catch all of “The Best of Backyard Habitat: Volume 1” on DVD!

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