SPOKANE – Homeowners who want to learn how to attract wildlife to their yards can register now for the Spokane County Backyard Wildlife/Sustainable Gardening Tour on June 25.
The tour, which includes three public sites and 11 private properties, is co-sponsored by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Washington State University (WSU) Extension Master Gardeners. It replaces WDFW’s annual Spokane County “Bird Fair/Open Yard” event, which ran for the past 15 years at local plant nurseries.
“This is a chance to see how others in urban and rural settings provide habitat for wildlife in their backyards, and learn how to do it yourself,” said WDFW district wildlife biologist Howard Ferguson of Spokane, who coordinates eastern Washington’s Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary program.
WSU/Spokane County Extension horticulturist Tonie Fitzgerald noted that many of the tour properties also feature native, drought-tolerant plants that provide low-maintenance, sustainable landscaping. “That kind of gardening means less watering and mowing and more time for bird-watching and relaxing,” she said.
The $5-per-vehicle tour registration fee provides addresses, directions and a map of the 14 sites for on-your-own travel on Sunday, June 25, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., plus a packet of information on getting started in your own backyard.
To register by mail, send your name and address, with a $5 check payable to WSU Extension, by June 17 to WSU Extension, N. 222 Havana St., Spokane, WA 99202. Another option is to register in person at the WSU Extension office or at WDFW’s Eastern Region office at 2315 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley (north of I-90, between Pines and Evergreen, at Mirabeau Point.)
In addition, people can register on the day of the tour at two of the public sites – the Green Zone at Spokane County Conservation District office grounds, N. 210 Havana St. (just south of WSU Extension and the fairgrounds), and WDFW Eastern Region office.
Master Gardeners and other experts will be on hand at every tour site to explain sustainable gardening and wildlife habitat needs. No disabled access nor public restrooms are available at private sites.