Wildlife Gardens and Biodiversity
In 1989, the Seattle University grounds were designated a Wildlife Sanctuary by the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Dept. This was the first designation of this type for an institution in the State of Washington. Since then, the Grounds Dept. has been committed to providing habitat and encouraging biodiversity throughout the grounds, and in habitat-designed gardens in particular.
Building a habitat garden starts with finding ways to provide birds, beneficial insects and soil organisms the physical space to complete their life cycles. Our efforts in the Grounds Dept. include choosing plants that provide nectar and pollen sources for adults throughout the year, plants for larval food, “banker plants” that attract insect pests, and using native plants to which native beneficals are adapted. A water source is another important habitat componant for all species. Shelter through layered vegetation and undisturbed soils is a priority in designated areas.
There are so many resources available to help you plan your habitat garden. Here are a few to get you started.
- Pollinators Handbook – created by Pollinator Partnership and NAPPC, a regional guide to plant selection
- Pocket Guide of Natural Enemies - published by Oregon State University
- Plant Families that Attract Beneficial Insects – Plants listed by 'Family' name
- Butterfly Food Plants – published by the Washington Butterfly Association