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Columns

Conservation@Home: These Christmas gift ideas help recipients enjoy and protect nature

John Church
John Church

It is hard to believe that the Christmas season is already here. Are you are looking for a gift for that special person who has an interest in the outdoors or the environment? If so, maybe some of the following ideas might make a welcome gift.

You might want to consider a membership to The Conservation Foundation (TCF) or to be a part of TCF’s Conservation@Home program. There are always great programs to participate in during the year. If you are interested in more information, go to the TCF website at theconservationfoundation.org or phone 630-553-0687, ext. 204.

A gift certificate for native perennial plants to add to the garden makes a great gift for those interested in enhancing the beauty of their landscape as well as adding to the natural environment. Adding an offer to help do the planting is a nice present, too. Many local nurseries and mail order garden firms offer such plants, but be sure to know the source, its appropriateness for our area, and if it is a true native species.

Another great gift certificate idea that can enhance the landscape planting even further is a design and/or planting of a rain garden for the yard. Rain gardens use native plants to promote water infiltration into the soil as well as adding beauty to the yard and garden.

Rain barrels are popular among homeowners to help collect roof runoff water and then use it more efficiently in the lawn and garden. There are a number of kinds available in stores, online or from local groups and agencies. Be sure to look for one that is made from food-grade or other non-toxic materials and also includes features such as a mosquito screen and hose attachment valves. Rain barrels can be purchased from The Conservation Foundation – call for details.

Composting barrels are also available from TCF. Compost bins can make a useful gift to the active gardener. It can help make much-needed organic matter from materials around your home, yard and garden, which then can be used to improve the soil in your garden.

A native tree to add shade to the yard and home can make lasting memories for years to come for many generations. There is a special concern currently over the loss of native oaks, so a gift certificate to add or replace one in your yard next year can be a thoughtful gift.

There are an assortment of other gifts that can be really appreciated, too, such as native gardening or bird feeding manuals or other resource books, a bird house or bird bath, bird seed, wildlife-watching binoculars, a rain gauge, or many other items to help someone enjoy their home landscape, the out-of-doors and surrounding habitat.

Finally, enjoy the holiday season and have a very Merry Christmas! Also, as we wrap up and remember this year as TCF’s 35th anniversary, have a Happy New Year in 2018!

• John Church is the Kendall County program director at The Conservation Foundation.

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