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CUES: Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability

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CUES from Mother Nature

Be an Environmentalist in Your Own Backyard!

Sustainable yards mimic conditions you find in the wild. You can use nature's tactics and recreate many features of the natural world by recycling, encouraging a healthy variety of plants and animals, and reducing the use of energy and chemicals. How you manage your land affects everyone; your decisions affect water quality, waste disposal, and the survival of wildlife.

Which Yard Gives You More Time to Enjoy Nature?

A high-maintenance lawn costs you time, money for equipment and chemicals, and does not benefit the environment.

A sustainable yard costs you less time and money. It can look good while requiring less work, and will help protect natureís balance by improving water quality, reducing waste and pollution, and encouraging wildlife diversity.


Mushrooms and fungi break down plants on the forest floor and return nutrients to the soil. You can improve your garden's soil by recycling plant wastes in a backyard composting bin.

Create Diversity


A natural environment hosts many types of birds and other wildlife because it has a diversity of plants and habitats--evergreens, deciduous trees, grasses, shrubs, marshy areas, and water. You can create a similar variety of habitats in your own yard.

Welcome Wildlife

Nature's woods and wetlands furnish homes and food for wildlife. Do the same in your backyard by providing bird nesting boxes, bird feeders, and plants that birds and butterflies like for feeding.

Welcome Wildlife

Add Some Water

Both natural and constructed water gardens provide habitat and nutrition for a variety of plant and animal species.

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Last modified on March 06, 2013