Backyard Biodiversity Bash

by Sarah Cech

On September 18, Cleveland Metroparks hosted the Backyard Biodiversity Bash (BBB) at the Watershed Stewardship Center in their West Creek Reservation in Parma. This was the second year for this event. Metroparks staff and other habitat conservation leaders in the region encourage homeowners to use native plants in their own gardens. Native plants are important to include in home landscapes because they provide food for our native insect and bird populations. Using native plants does not mean that your garden has to be messy, it just means that you use plants that are indigenous to the region, which improves overall biodiversity.

native plant garden

At the BBB, you could help Metroparks naturalists perform a “BioBlitz” on the constructed wetland behind the Center. Children were given nets to capture and identify the macroinvertibrates living in the ponds. There were games for children to play, a room lit up with ultraviolet light to “see what bees see,” a table where you could learn about urban forestry, and a table with little cards full of native wildflower seeds for people to grow.

Renee with seed cardsThere was also a virtual garden tour with examples of native plant gardens in both private homes and public parks.

Each station was staffed with Metroparks staff, volunteers, and conservation experts from the Lake Erie Allegheny Partnership for biodiversity (LEAP). There were also booths featuring other community partners, like Cuyahoga RAP and Ohio Prairie Nursery. Ohio Prairie Nursery is a source for native plant seeds located in Hiram.

The Watershed Stewardship Center itself is a demonstration area for stormwater management and native plant gardening. Some of the photos demonstrate the different water management features.

stormwater feature stormwater feature above constructed wetland

stormwater feature above constructed wetlandCleveland Metroparks plans to continue hosting this event to help spread the word about native plant gardening.

Sarah Cech
Natural Resource ManagerNature Center at Shaker Lakes
2600 South Park Blvd