Certified Backyard Habitat Programs

Nothing says spring like learning how to make your space a welcoming environment for local wildlife! With this new series, Stark Parks will teach all you need to know to qualify your backyard as a Certified Wildlife Habitat. A certified backyard habitat contains the essential needs that wildlife need to thrive, including food, water, shelter, and places to raise their young. See below for a full list of programs in the series. Registration is required, and all programs are held in the Exploration Gateway, located at the north entrance of Sippo Lake Park.

Certify your Backyard!


Intro: Backyard Habitats – Thursday, March 7 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Over the past decade, urban sprawl has increased at an alarming rate. Due to this trend, our native wildlife have been forced to relocate as their habitats disappear. As individuals, we may not be able to stop this devastating trend, but we can help reintroduce the wildlife into our backyard. This program is just one in a series of programs to help certify your backyard as a valuable and sustainable ecosystem for wildlife. Participants will receive instructions about getting their yard the “Certified Backyard Habitat” designation by Stark Parks naturalists.


Butterfly Puddles – Thursday, March 14 from 6 to 7 p.m.

Butterflies are important pollinators for native Ohio wildflowers, and their caterpillars are an important food source for many Ohio birds. Transform your garden into a backyard habitat by providing for all the needs of these amazing insects. Participants will make a butterfly puddle and will receive a guide to identifying Ohio butterflies. There is a $5 cost per participant for materials.

Deer Butterfly Squirrel and Raccoon on grass


Water (Bird Baths!) – Thursday, March 21

from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Water is a vital resources for every living creature. Whether it is for drinking, living or breeding it is one thing all wildlife must have to survive. Join the staff as you build your very own bird bath for your garden and learn about other sustainable gardening practices.
There is a $5 cost for materials (one kit per family).


Wildflower ID – Thursday, April 4 from 5 to 6 p.m.

What do bluets, violets, skunk cabbage, and trillium have in common?  All of these are spring wildflowers that can be found in Ohio.  We will talk about wildflowers, their importance, and some of the tools, such as field guides and smart phone apps that are available to help identify flowers on the trails.  Then, we will take a short hike and put our new skills to the test.


Bat Boxes – Thursday, April 11 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Placing a nesting box around your garden helps provide a home for wildlife as well as a place to raise young.  Learn about the different types of nest boxes (natural and man-made) and why they are important. You will have the opportunity you build your own bat box and meet a Stark Parks Wildlife Rehab Specialist. There is a $5 cost for materials (one kit per family).


Sustainability – Thursday, April 18 from 6-7:30 p.m.

This session you’ll learn about how to keep your garden sustainable for years to come. We will talk about invasive plants that can find their way into your garden and how to remove them properly, the use of pesticides, and compost efforts.


Providing Nourishment – Thursday, May 2 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Food is essential for every animal to have in order to survive. Stark Parks naturalists will discuss the food chain of native species and the best plants to have in your garden to attract and provide nourishment to native animals.