Guest Post from Shannon Strelioff and Rachael Grace
Yardmap is a project created and funded through Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The goal of Yardmap is to create a social network where people can go to learn more about their own back yard, their community, and ultimately use this tool to become a better steward in their region. The goal in Yardmap Chautauqua Watershed Chautauqua Watershed is to create a community where citizens of the Chautauqua Lake Watershed can go to share ideas about matters that may affect the environment, the local economy, recreation, and sustenance. Yardmap is about habitat development and land-use stress reduction (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 2011). Yardmap provides users with tips towards transforming any space into an ecologically-friendly area; whether the area is a community garden, an office space, or even a street curb (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 2011). The size of a user’s backyard or public space holds no restriction to the possibility of habitat creation.
Yardmap is a hands-on, fun, and interactive experience where users craft their very own environment through mapping. Yardmap equips the user with tools that assist the individual in developing a better understanding of what is going on in their own backyard. After several minutes of mapping their backyard, the user can visually understand where their land falls on the spectrum of environmental stewardship, as well as learn new approaches of tweaking their own practices to promote a more sustainable, healthy, and responsible property maintenance. Other tools on Yardmap serve as educational applications with an array of topics such as birds, sustainability, and gardening.
Chautauqua, New York residents: Are you aware of what is in your backyard? Do the surrounding public areas and your backyard constitute a ‘bird-friendly environment’? Would these areas constitute an ‘all-around healthy yard’?
The questions listed above are extremely important to consider in regards to the Chautauqua, New York region. It is important to understand the types of activities that are taking place within the backyards and public spaces of Chautauqua County as this area is a part of the Chautauqua Lake Watershed. The health of public areas and homeowner backyards contribute to the overall health of Chautauqua Lake.
Also, Chautauqua, New York is classified as an Important Bird Area, or IBA, because it is a key location where migratory waterfowl stop on their way North or South (Audubon, 2012). Water plays a large role in sustaining: ‘a healthy bird habitat.’ It is essential that the accessible water is both clean and fresh (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 2011). Environmental health awareness is extremely important in Chautauqua, New York as this region is home to numerous bird and wildlife habitats. The health of bird habitats and the environment of Chautauqua, New York lie in the hands of those currently residing here.
Join and Promote Yardmap: a proactive social network that teaches the user how to promote habitat and how to reduce the stress of land use practices! Be a part of the movement of backyard awareness and its’ positive contributions upon the local environment.
Begin the change by implementing a few of these bird-friendly practices in your own backyard or public spaces:
- Decrease the use of chemicals such as pesticides
- Set up a bird feeder
- Plant shrubs, trees, and flowers of different heights
- Keep your cat inside!
- Maintain a compost pile
(The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 2011)
Put yourself on the map, Chautauqua, New York!
Yardmap Chautauqua Watershed Coordinators: Rachael Grace & Shannon Strelioff
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/YardMap
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. (2011). Yardmap. Retrieved July 03, 2012, from www.yardmap.org/
Audubon. (2012). Chautauqua Lake. Retrieved July 03, 2012, from http://iba.audubon.org/iba/viewSiteProfile.do?siteId=861&navSite=state