August 4, 2020

Habitat Hero Garden

Native Plants Bring New Life to Local Neighborhood — July 2020

The Middle Shooks Run Neighborhood Association has just received recognition from Audubon Rockies for incorporating native plants and wildlife into the community landscape. The small Xeriscape Garden located in the 700 block E. Willamette Street received the designation as a “Habitat Hero Public Garden” in July.

“Our neighborhood garden provides a great example of plants that flourish here without a lot of care—with a little weeding and adding to the mulch now and then,” says Middle Shooks Run neighbor Louise Conner. The small garden also includes a Little Library.

Habitat Hero Garden

Around ten years ago, the Middle Shooks Run Neighborhood Association changed the neglected, weedy corner located across El Paso Street from Shooks Run Park and Trail into an attractive example of water wise landscaping using a variety of native trees, shrubs and flowers. The effort called for cooperation from local government, generous donation of plants and materials from local businesses, and labor of neighborhood volunteers. The public pocket-sized garden is now a thriving xeriscape garden that serves as an example of wildlife habitat and has been recognized by Audubon Rockies as such.

Audubon Rockies is a regional office of the National Audubon Society that serves Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. Its Habitat Hero program certifies bird-friendly gardens and trains volunteer Wildscape Ambassadors to teach their communities how to incorporate native plants into residential, business, and public landscaping for the benefit of birds, other wildlife, and people.

Gardens using native plant species allow gardeners to:

  • spend less time planting and caring for them giving compared to most non-native plants;
  • attract native pollinators and bird species that provide valuable environmental services and provide additional beauty;
  • reduce the strain on Colorado’s water systems since these plants use less water than landscape plants not naturally adapted to our environment.

This project is a collaboration of Audubon Rockies, Colorado Native Plant Society, and High Plains Environmental Center.

Gardens using native plant species allow gardeners to:

  • spend less time planting and caring for them giving compared to most non-native plants;
  • attract native pollinators and bird species that provide valuable environmental services and provide additional beauty;
  • reduce the strain on Colorado’s water systems since these plants use less water than landscape plants not naturally adapted to our environment.