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By Lyn Chimera

December is a time for holidays and gift giving. It’s always a struggle to think of just the right gift for your friends and family (and don’t forget yourself!) Why not give gifts that will benefit nature? The following are some suggestions I hope you find helpful.

Help the Birds

Who doesn’t like watching birds at a feeder? The birds need a good supply of seed to get through the winter, so birdfeeders really help. The types available are as varied as the conditions where they will be used, including ones for suet, fruit, and nuts. Squirrels are always an issue but luckily there are squirrel-proof feeders available. I have one that is weighted so if a squirrel goes on it, its weight pulls down covers for the seed ports. It really works! If the feeder is hung from a pole there are baffles that will keep squirrels out. If someone already has a birdfeeder, a bag of birdseed or gift certificate for a shop that has bird feeding supplies would be much appreciated.

Suet feeders provided much a needed energy source. The varieties available are numerous. If someone is already using a suet feeder, some suet blocks are a nice gift.

Birds need fresh water in the winter so a heated birdbath would be a great gift. The one I have is used constantly in the winter and it’s very entertaining to watch the birds. There are also bird bath heaters that can be put in an existing birdbath.

Support Nature

There are many organizations that support, restore, and preserve natural habitat. A donation to one of these in someone’s name would be greatly appreciated by both the recipient and the organization. Two of my personal favorites are the Western New York Land Conservancy and Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper.

The Western New York Land Conservancy is a nonprofit dedicated to permanently protecting land with significant conservation value in Western New York for the benefit of future generations. They work to ensure a future in which natural areas, working farmlands, wildlife habitat, and scenic beauty are cherished and protected as part of the landscape and character of Western New York. Their current project is preserving Mossy Point, an amazing stretch of old growth forest on the other side of the creek from Hunters Creek. It is a wonderful property with huge old growth trees and a view of the gorge that makes you feel you are in the Rockies. For information on donating, go to <https://wnylc.org>.

Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper is a community-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to restore and protect our water and surrounding ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations. They protect clean water, restore the health of ecosystems, connect people to water, and inspire economic growth and community engagement. One of their current programs is the Living Shorelines program which was developed in response to the critical need to restore the quality and function of shoreline habitat within our region. By implementing and sharing restoration techniques, their goal is to make healthy landscapes recognizable and highly visible in order to promote widespread change in how we manage our natural assets. We all benefit from clean water, so it is a wonderful cause. For more information on their mission and how to donate, go to <https://bnwaterkeeper.org>.

Give a tree –

Planting a tree is one of the best things you can do to support nature, there are many parks and organizations that promote planting trees in honor or memory of someone. A few suggested organizations are the Olmsted Parks Conservancy and Re-Tree WNY.

The Olmsted Parks Conservancy. We are very lucky to have so many Olmsted-designed parks in Buffalo. The mission of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, a non-profit membership organization, is to promote, preserve, restore, enhance and ensure maintenance of Olmsted Parks and Parkways in the Greater Buffalo area to guarantee Olmsted Park experiences for current and future generations. For information on donations, go to <https://www.bfloparks.org/support>.

Re-Tree WNY has less than 100 trees to plant to reach the goal they set just after the storm of October 2006, which destroyed 57,000 trees in the public areas of the Greater Buffalo area and they’re not done yet! They will be replacing trees from various calamities such as windstorms, disease, invasive insects, and general aging of the canopy. We need to steward our 30,000 trees. For more information, go to <http://re-treewny.org>.

Native Plants are the key to a sustainable environment. You can purchase a gift certificate for native plants from Lessons from Nature to be redeemed in the spring for native plants that will suit the recipient’s environment. For information, contact lyn@lessonsfromnature.biz.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

To contact me at Lessons from Nature, call 652-2432 or e-mail at lyn@lessonsfromnature.biz. I can e-mail or mail the gift certificates.