On waterfalls and wildlife

backyard waterfallOne of my favorite features of my backyard is broken. Our waterfall, which Jim — primary caretaker of the falls — likes to keep running through each and every season (despite it freezing for the most part during winter seasons), hasn't been running for several seasons now.

Because it's broken. Has a leak. Somewhere. Somehow.

Jim and I plan to spend much of Saturday figuring out the where and the how — and the what we need to do to fix it.

Taking apart the waterfall and putting it all back together again will surely be a pain in the butt. We don't look forward to it.

We do, though, look forward to once again having water streaming and splashing. We miss the sound, the peace, the tranquility of the special spot just off our patio.

Despite our reluctance to remove and replace liners and rocks and such, the special spot needs to be fixed. Not only to fulfill our desire for splishy-splashy sounds but because it fulfills one big requirement of our yard being an "Official Certified Wildlife Habitat® with the National Wildlife Federation and Colorado Wildlife Federation" (ID No. 205686). Wildlife need water; our waterfall provides it. For birds, squirrels, and more — including, unfortunately, an occasional skunk. In more splendid and soothing style than a simple birdbath.

Yep, our yard is certified. Not too long ago I wrote about how to get one's yard certified as a wildlife habit because it's a super activity to enjoy with grandkids. In light of my waterfall fixing for certification purposes (among others) that post has been on my mind. So I figured I'd once again share the specifics on how you, too, can obtain certification for considering and caring for fuzzy and furry friends who frequent your place.

That post from August of 2015 in its entirety:

certified wildlife habitat

Grandma and Grandpa's house is a magical place for a grandchild. Having your yard certified as a wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation can increase the magical factor tenfold and more.

Certifying your yard, no matter how big or how small, is much easier than one might think. Plus, it's a super outdoor project to do with grandkids of all ages, to create memories that last a lifetime—as well as life-long benefits for fine-feathered friends and other critters, too.

You may already be on your way to having just what you need to certify your yard. Visit the National Wildlife Federation's page on certification to download the list of requirements for you and your grandchildren to verify or put into place.

Basically, all you need is the provisions for birds and animals: food, water, cover, and a place for wildlife to raise their young. Regardless of the size of your outdoor area, if you have those four things, you're already providing what wildlife needs to thrive—and all you need to get certified.

Not so sure? Consider these suggestions from the National Wildlife Federation for meeting the requirements:

  • Food sources: native plants, seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, nectar
  • Water sources: birdbath, pond, water garden, stream
  • Cover: thicket, rock pile, birdhouse
  • Places to raise young: dense shrubs, vegetation, nesting box, pond

Once your yard, garden or deck is decked out as required, head back to the National Wildlife Federation's website to fill out the certification application and pay the $20 fee. In about six weeks you'll receive personalized documentation certifying your outdoor area as a national wildlife habitat. Plus, you'll receive a one-year subscription to National Wildlife and quarterly habitat tips emailed to you.

For a little more money, you can order a sign to post in your yard or garden marking it as "Certified Wildlife Habitat."

A better return on investment would be tough to find. With a little yard work plus twenty bucks, you can make a lifesaving difference for wildlife—while making lifelong memories with your grandchildren, too.