Stewardship means to take good care of something. Private land stewardship means taking good care of the land while we use it. This does not mean absolute preservation nor does it leave room for unbridled development. Rather it means to have consideration for the land and use it wisely recognizing that we are sharing or borrowing the space from wildlife and future generations.
What can I, as a landowner, do?
Are you a shoreline property owner? Everything you need to know plus support is available on our Water page.
Do you have species at risk habitat or a large tract of land that you would like to steward? We can help provide guidance and planning through our Greenway project.
You can make a conscious commitment to look after land by developing an understanding and appreciation of the natural and cultural features of your property. This is one of the best ways to ensure that the unique values of your property remain for future generations.
Do you have a creative flair and commitment? You can make your property an inviting haven for wildlife. Here are a few suggestions:
- Resist the urge to tidy up your property especially in wilder areas and sensitive areas of shorelines. As long as they pose no danger, standing and fallen dead trees should be left where they are. They provide invaluable nesting sites, shelter, and hiding places. As they decompose, fallen trees provide essential nutrients to the forest soil for other plants to thrive.
- Naturalize your property wherever possible by either landscaping with native plant species or by allowing an area to grow back on its own. Native species have adapted to local climate and soil conditions and are therefore hardier, requiring little care.
- Consider creating habitat on your property such as basking areas for reptiles, brush piles for creatures to hide in, and small ponds if a water supply is needed.
- Reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides and fertilizers, particularly near water.
- Take the natural landscape into consideration when doing any construction or alterations around your property.
- In the larger picture, lightening your footprint is also the way to go. Easy adjustments can be made that make big differences personally, locally and globally. Using alternative energy sources where possible, recycling, reducing light pollution, choosing alternative modes of travel and even buying locally do a lot to support economic and environmental sustainability at all scales.
Site Visits and Stewardship Plans
Creating a stewardship plan for your property is an excellent way to learn about and manage your unique property. Site visits and assessments conducted by qualified Biologists will provide you with features and species on your property, and can outline best practices, restoration designs and management options. This program is offered to Turtle Guardians and through our Greenway and Blueway projects in 2015 and 2016. Contact us for availability of these services.
Should your property warrant some enhancements, any alteration or restoration should be done considering the surrounding environment including: forest type, cover, hydrology, plant hardiness zone etc. Native seed sources should be sought, and plants should come from local seed sources within the same plant hardiness zone. Be careful when bringing in heavy equipment or external sources of materials. Seeds of invasive species often hitch a ride, and may cause more damage than the restoration intended. Removal of established invasive species is a great form of restoration in itself.