Natural Land Institute had an opportunity to certify the Fitton’s yard with beautiful natural landscaping for the Conservation@Home program in July. When you notice the native grass like little bluestem and the native butterflyweed growing, it becomes very inviting and makes you want to see more. The Joe Pye weed is a place for bees and butterflies to find an abundance of food and a place to rest. They also have many other flowers that are liked by pollinators, such as shooting stars, wild bergamot, and the bush-like New Jersey tea.  Not only was this house friendly to the pollinators, but wildlife and birds. 

They had feeders and water available in their accessible habitat. As I walked around the property I started to realize just how much planning and consideration the Fittons had put into making their yard a place where native plants and wildlife could thrive. It was clear to me that they had studied the Landowner checklist as they met almost every requirement. My favorite part about this yard was their two rain gardens (one in the front and one in the back). They carefully placed them in such a way that runoff from downspouts and rain would be directed into these gardens without over saturating the rest of their yard. Paige’s son Billy (who will be a senior in highschool this fall) was very knowledgeable about all the different species of plants they had planted. It was very cool to see and I was very excited to see someone around my age care so much about creating a native habitat in an urban environment that benefits the wildlife of Illinois. It is very important for younger generations to understand the importance of these plants and animals. 

Written by: Mike Tackett (Sophomore at University of North Carolina Asheville)








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