Faith In Action: Creating a Backyard Habitat
Activity time: 0 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Seedlings for local plants that provide food or shelter for animals (e.g., butterfly bush, milkweed, berry shrubs)
- Items to hold water such as a bird bath or a fountain
- Shovels, watering cans, and digging tools
- Optional: Items to shelter animals, such as a bird house or a bat box
Preparation for Activity
- With your minister, building and grounds committee, and religious educator, identify a habitat niche you can create in your locale and plan a backyard habitat for your grounds.
- Investigate local wildlife needs by consulting government or conservation agencies, such as EPA or the Audubon Society. Determine beneficial plants and trees to support local wildlife. A good resource about backyard habitats on the National Wildlife Federation website, where you can also certify your habitat.
- Plan a date for building the habitat. Publicize this event in your congregation and in the larger community.
- Optional: Invite a wildlife expert to speak to your congregation about these needs.
- Optional: Provide backyard habitat information to all members of your congregation. Invite them to join the group for this activity and/or create their own backyard habitats at their homes.
Description of Activity
Involve your entire congregation in activities related to creating your backyard habitat, such as installing a fountain or birdbath, making birdhouses, planting food plants or providing cover. Choose a day to construct a backyard habitat on your congregational grounds.
Process the experience with questions like:
- How does creating a backyard habitat reflect our Unitarian Universalist beliefs?
- What UU Sources point us to show love by creating a backyard habitat? (third Source, world religions, Hindu respect for animals and doing no harm (ahimsa); fifth Source, reason and science, understanding what animals need to survive and understanding that our environments needs the animals; sixth Source, earth-centered religions and harmony of nature)
- What do we hope will happen in our backyard habitat?
- What more could we do to support local wildlife?
- How could we encourage others in our community to create their own backyard habitats?
Optional: celebrate your new backyard habitat by installing a certified wildlife habitat sign (available for a fee from the National Wildlife Federation).