Sydney locals heed call of the wild

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Sydneysiders are being urged to turn their courtyards, decks, balconies and gardens into habitats for local wildlife and help preserve threatened local species.

The City of Sydney's free Habitat Creation Guide shows residents, schools, community groups and developers how to create spaces with native plants to support the city's unique urban wildlife. The inner city is home to around 365 local native plants, 90 different bird species and four threatened animal species. Lord Mayor Clover Moore said even the smallest green spaces can provide a haven for native animals.

"While some animals have adapted well to urbanisation, many have sadly disappeared, or are only found in small numbers," the Lord Mayor said.

"Whether you live in a terrace or a high rise apartment, we can all use our homes to help native wildlife survive and thrive, and create a safe network of green spaces across the city.

"Everyone gets a kick out of surprising sightings of wildlife in the city, and these little green spaces will help us connect with nature, improve our health and contribute to our wellbeing.

"We all have a role to play in protecting and preserving our amazing wildlife, before it's gone forever."

The new guide focuses on creating habitats especially for the frogs, small birds, lizards, owls, microbats, small mammals, native bees and butterflies whose numbers are in decline.

Full of practical tips for creating habitat gardens in any environment, the guide outlines greening and landscaping projects, lists of plant species that are hardy and easy to grow and a comprehensive planting guide for attracting particular wildlife.

Forest Lodge resident Judy Christie started planting her habitat garden more than 20 years ago. She says her wild garden is now part of a local corridor loved by an array of birds, insects and striped marsh frogs.

"One little wild garden with a frog pond may not be able to change the nature of the urban landscape but, together with my neighbours, we're creating a corridor that can really make a difference," Ms Christie said.

"One of the things I really like is the seasonality of a native garden. In Sydney we have a lot of plants that flower in winter, like wattle and pretty sandstone flowers, so even when it's cool, you've got a bright garden. That's important for our wildlife, like native bees, that need flowers all year round. And it's a lot of fun!

"Hearing the frogs at night gives you a real sense that you're in nature. I grew up in the country and having those sounds of the bush are nice. It gives you a sense of being part of nature even though you live in the city."

Ms Christie, who worked with the former environmental state agency the Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority, now volunteers on bush regeneration programs and leads bird watching walks.

"I think the City's habitat guide is excellent and easy to use. I've shown it to a few people already and everyone wants a copy. I'm delighted that this has been created - I think it will support anyone interested in creating havens for wildlife, which I highly recommend."

Copies of the City of Sydney's Habitat Creation Guide are available in City of Sydney libraries and community centres and at cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/live/animals/wildlife/home-is-where-the-habitat-is

For media inquiries or images, contact Belinda Wallis. Phone 0467 810 160 or email bwallis@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Jack Begbie. Phone 0481 759 580 or email jbegbie@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

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