Natural Wildlife Federation author and naturalist David Mizejewski will appear at the 2019 Monarch Butterfly Festival on Sunday, October 20, to discuss and sign his book, the second edition of Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and other Backyard Wildlife. 

Don’t let the title deceive you, though. This visually stunning book, filled with more than 200 color-rich photos, is more than a simple introduction to conservationist gardening. In the current, sometimes gloomy age of depleted wildlife, Mizejewski suggests simple, accessible, family-friendly ways to promote and protect biodiversity. He challenges the reader to “create a garden that meets the needs of wildlife by restoring a natural habitat [that still] draws you and your family, neighbors, and friends into it.”

Monarch on swamp milkweed Arsenal

Monarch on Swamp milkweed in an urban butterfly garden, San Antonio. Photo by Monika Maeckle

“Creating a wildlife habitat garden is an important way each of us can think globally, act locally and re-connect our own piece of the Earth — our yards and gardens — back into the ecosystem,” Mizejewski says on the NWF blog.  “The reward is seeing colorful songbirds, beautiful butterflies, pollinating bees and many other fascinating and wonderful species right outside your door and knowing you’re making a difference.”

Six easy-to-navigate sections make the book an easy read.

In “Getting Started,” Mizejewski coaches readers on assessing rural and urban habitats, identifying potentially invasive, non-native plants, and basic design techniques that encourage experimentation and lead to success. Section 2 focuses on the food of the ecosystem that is provided by both the native plants and the insects and other creatures attracted to the plants that become food for other wildlife. Mizijewski then dives into water and reminds us to mimic how this resource would naturally occur in the ecosystem. Section 4 tackles “Cover” by digging deep into native vs. non-native North American species.

Mizejeweski also encourages the reader to consider the many different types of shelter–from vines, grasses, and water to human-made havens like bird houses and bee boxes. Step by step, illustrated, “family projects” are especially informative and inspiring.

The section “Places to Raise Young” offers tips on not only how to attract creatures to urban yards, but also how to provide places where they will survive and thrive. The book concludes with “Sustainable Garden Practices” a primer on maintaining a wildlife friendly landscape. Don’t use pesticides, waste water, and keep domestic cats who can decimate the bird population under control.

Mizejewski, who appears regularly on NBC’s Today Show, Animal Planet, the National Geographic channel and other media outlets, has made the the complex nature of a backyard eco-system understandable and doable. He specializes in urban ecology and is a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation.

At this year’s Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival, Mazejewski will sign books and do a Q & A at The Twig Bookstore in San Antonio on Sunday, Octobe 20,  from 10AM – 12 noon and 1-3 PM.  In the afternoon, he’ll give a talk called “Gardening for Wildlife.”

Join us the week of Oct 12-20th for the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival. Check out the schedule here.

TOP: NWF naturalist and author David Mazijewski, Courtesy photo

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