Want to help biodiversity thrive in Muskoka? Stop raking the leaves says Nature Conservancy Canada

Muskoka Post Staff

We all love the fall colours. Muskoka’s shoulder season thrives on the thousands of tourists piling into Algonquin Park to get a glimpse of nature at its most spectacular time of the year.

But if you live in Muskoka, your property is more than likely surrounded by trees from all sides and inevitably your front lawn is drowning in leaves.

The urge to clean it all up and show off a manicured lawn is overwhelming.

The Nature Conservancy Canada, however, is giving Muskokans permission to just enjoy the cycle of mother nature. Stop raking and allow the biodiversity course of the season to take place as those leaves are incredibly valuable.

According to Dan Kraus, senior conservation biologist at the Nature Conservancy of Canada, property owners who haven’t raked and bagged their leaves already should leave them on the ground to support the biodiversity of species.

This small act of nature conservation can make a big difference for native pollinators, birds and other backyard wildlife.  

Layers of fallen leaves provide important habitat for many animals, such as toads, frogs and pollinators, who hibernate under the insulating layer of leaves. As the leaves break down, they also provide natural mulch, which helps fertilize the soil.

Many species of insects also need plants stalks or dead branches for hibernation. By completely cleaning up the leaves we may be removing important wintering habitats for native wildlife in our communities.

Resident birds will also be thankful. Fruits and seeds that remain on flowers and shrubs are a crucial food source and sustain many songbirds, such as goldfinches, jays and chickadees.

Insects overwintering in our yards also provide an important food source for birds. Providing winter habitats for our native birds and insects is just as important as providing food and shelter during the spring and summer.

Keep the leaves on the ground where they belong and share your space with the biodiversity around you.

With files from Nature Conservancy of Canada.

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