Tim Lewis’ Conservation Story

Tim Lewis is a member of NLI and a long-time member of Wild Ones Rock River Valley Chapter. In June, Laura Sjoquist, NLI’s Community Conservation Coordinator, visited him to see the native habitat he had created around his home and certified him on the spot. Tim has been implementing conservation efforts into his half-acre yard since 1991. His knowledge and dedication to native species has inspired many in the Rockford area to plant native species, and the work he has done in his yard is an excellent example of environmentally-friendly landscaping and dedication to native species.

Tim’s work with native plant species is very unique in that he propagates his own native wildflowers using sterile potting soil which he makes himself.  This has allowed him to cultivate several rare plant species and maintain diverse wildflower beds throughout his property.

Currently, Tim has large and small prairie plots, three native shade gardens, and three native rain gardens, along with a vegetable garden and greenhouse. He usually implements a prescribed burn once a year, and he refrains from using pesticides in his gardening practices.

When asked what motivated him to create and maintain an environmentally-friendly landscape in his yard, Tim credits Wild Ones Rock River Valley Chapter: “The more that I learned through Wild Ones, the more I wanted to expand the natural habitats in our yard.” Since joining Wild Ones in 1996, Tim said, “I’ve never really stopped planting natives anywhere I could.”

     Tim also added that he enjoys growing native plant species because they “do not require much human intervention such as water and fertilizer”, and they attract pollinators and birds to the yard. “Some of my neighbors have commented about the number of birds and bird species that come to our yard, and they see them in their yards. They said that if it wasn’t for our yard, they would not have many of those bird species in their yards,” he explained.

It is evident that Tim’s hard work and dedication to conservation has extended far beyond his own yard—his efforts have had a positive impact on many native plant, animal, and insect species in the area, and his passion has inspired those around him to appreciate nature and do their part in conserving it.

When asked about his Conservation@Home certification, Tim said, “When I heard about the certification, I knew that it would be a no-brainer that our yard would qualify…The certification is a nice recognition for the work that I have put in to providing a natural habitat that supports the mission of Wild Ones, where we say we are ‘Healing the Earth One Yard at a Time’.

To learn more about the Conservation@Home program click here.

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