ed. note: This article originally appeared in our bi-monthly Members magazine, Exzooberance.
When you visit the Memphis Zoo, you learn about exceptional creatures from all over the planet. But did you know that you have exceptional creatures right in your own backyard?
These animals include birds, bats, butterflies and bees (referred to as the four Bs.) Our food chain is extremely diverse and complex, and is highly dependent on every active member. The four Bs play a larger role in this than one would think.
"Bees and butterflies are major pollinators of plants and crops. Birds and bats keep pest populations in check," said John Bursi, Memphis Zoo Green Intern. "By providing a backyard sanctuary for these animals, you are promoting a more sustainable biosphere."
But how do you go about creating a backyard sanctuary? It's quite simple, really. According to Bursi, many of the things that attract one of the four Bs also attracts the others.
Birds and bats both need a place for shelter. Birds like to nest, while bats like to roost. Birdhouses and bat boxes are two excellent ways for you to provide homes for these creatures. Bats and birds also need plenty of water. By adding a small water source to your property, you provide a water source for the animals, promote abundant plant growth and increase your property value.
Bees and butterflies are both attracted to flowers. However, the color of the flowers is important depending on which species you're trying to attract. Bees are attracted to blue, purple and yellow blooms, while butterflies are attracted to reds, yellow and pink and purple blooms.
To learn more about creating your own backyard sanctuary, click here to download a PDF with a simple, how-to guide. Once you've created your backyard sanctuary, all that's let to do is certify it. Click here to be redirected to the National Wildlife Federation's Certified Wildlife Habitat (R) program.