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Jody Strohm of Oswego says she first started thinking about conservation issues after moving to an Oswego subdivision in 2002 and seeing how polluted the man-made stormwater creek was that flowed by her home.

“My neighbors like a lot of green lawns, which of course require a lot of herbicides and pesticides and they all run off into this creek,” she says. “Te creek doesn’t have a natural outflow, and all the storm sewers flow in to it. I thought, ‘What a strange thing. We are going in the wrong way.’ ”

Jody decided to have her home’s yard certified as a Conservation@ Home property in 2009 because she believes the program focuses attention on the need to create habitats not just for people, but for beneficial wildlife.

“We are so short on the natural habitat that we need for the critters out there,” says Jody, who is a volunteer coordinator for the Kendall County Forest Preserve District. “A lot of land in our area that used to be usable by the native plants, animals, and insects is now farmland. So what could be better than using your yard?”

in creating wildlife habitats:

Aurora resident Shauna Wiet says she uses the plants in her garden to express her creativity. “I’m painting with plants,” she says.

Because of her educational background -- she has a master’s degree in urban planning, with a specialization in preservation and neighborhood planning -- and her long-time commitment to advocating for Te Conservation Foundation (“It’s the best organization I’ve ever been associated with”) she knows conservation efforts are important. When she and her husband moved to their Aurora home and she began working on their gardens, she knew she wanted her yard to become certified as a Conservation@Home property.

“Every bit of the yard doesn’t have to be natural to qualify, “ she says. “I have all kinds of different microsoil environments. I do have a lot of things -- a bunch of berry-bearing plants -- and I collect tropical plants that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.”

One special eyesore, on the side of their garage, had been a dumping site for motor oil and brush. Te soil there, Shauna says, “is terrible.” So she enhances the area with potted houseplants and a water

feature. “Te fish fountain is a water trough and bird bath all summer. Te hot pink flowers attract hummingbirds. Te chipmunks are back, and of course we host bunnies and all manners of birds. A pair of ducks return each year, and there is an owl and a red-tailed hawk that hang around.”

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