In the “Exploring nature with children booklet

Your backyard could be as complex and lush as a rainforest, or as infertile and harsh as a desert – if you were a bird or an insect you'd probably know which environment you'd rather live in!

Do your neighbours have more native birds in their backyard than you do? Well, it's probably because they have the right sort of food available - a diverse network of trees, insects, flowers and seeds (and they might even have some pest control going on).

Spot the difference in biodiversity between these two houses. Photo: DOC/Adrienne Grant.
These two houses are three doors down from each other. Spot the difference in biodiversity!

Creating spaces for wildlife

Believe it or not, birds, lizards and insects don't care if your garden is 'messy' – in fact they prefer it! Areas of long grass and thick plantings are much better for them than large expanses of neatly cut lawn. They also make great play spaces for your kids.

  • Plant a variety of trees and shrubs that offer fruit, flowers or nectar as food for birds and lizards.
  • Make sure your garden beds have good natural mulches. Let your prunings rot down naturally.
  • Create lizard friendly gardens by leaving piles of wood, stones or bricks lying around in your garden.
  • Minimise the use of sprays which will kill native invertebrates - the food source for many native birds and lizards.
  • Get involved in conserving our lizards by creating a lizard lounge in your garden.
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