As a healthy ecosystem seems perilously close to being a thing of the past, please consider acting locally. The National Wildlife Federation is holding a challenge of turning our backyards into safe havens all across the country. I was surprised to find that our suburban backyard was able to gain certification of a wildlife habitat by the NWF with one or two tweaks. The checklist is incredibly straightforward-- seeds or berries, trees and shrubs, nesting location, water source, organic fertilizer-- it is quite easy to meet the standard, leaving me to wonder why shouldn't we all get on board. The Audubon Society also has information on their site on how to make your backyard bird-friendly. With the marsh areas of the Gulf chewed up with oil, perhaps we can do our part for bird populations in our own region.