Not all conservation has to be on a large scale. Every one of us that has access to land can do their part. Every species has specific needs, but all require food, shelter, water, and space to raise their young. One of the most important ways we can help native species is by eliminating invasive species in our gardens and public parks. Plants such as ardisia and nardina may look pretty, but they are not supposed to be in Florida and will overtake native vegetation to the detriment of the entire ecosystem. Plants such as Japanese and Old-World climbing fern will even grow over an entire tree! If we get to know what to look for, we can remove these noxious plants from our yards and even replace them with beneficial native species.
The planting of certain species also helps. The monarch butterfly, for instance, lays its eggs on our native milkweed plant. This tiny and beautiful insect migrates from Florida across the Gulf all the way to Mexico and needs all the assistance we can give. Importantly, monarchs, like other insects, are pollinators of a wide variety of plants. For birds, feeders and birdbaths are great, and if you place them correctly, you can watch your winged neighbors. Plants such as coral beans will draw in the endearing ruby-throated hummingbird. As the old movie says, if you build it they will come. If you make your yard attractive to wildlife, they will find it. If you live in the city, try a window bird feeder or window box with native plants.