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Learn how to landscape your yard for wildlife

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. – Want to liven up your backyard with some wild company? Create a mix of things they need and be ready to welcome wildlife into your outdoor space.

Interested in attracting birds, bees, and other wildlife to your backyard? MDC invites the public to join its free live Wild Webcast on Attracting Backyard Wildlife on Wednesday, July 1, at noon. (Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.)

Three Basics

All wildlife requires three elements to survive: food, water and shelter. But a toad’s needs for each differ from those of a blue jay or a butterfly or a rabbit. You can attract the greatest variety and number of wildlife by providing a variety of sources of food, water and shelter. Diverse habitat supports diverse wildlife. Planting an assortment of trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses will provide alternatives for food and shelter. You can meet wildlife’s critical water needs by maintaining a bird bath or by constructing a small pool. Add feeders and nest boxes to provide more food and shelter.

Create an edge by planting trees and shrubs around open areas. An edge is where vegetation borders an open area. Edges attract more wildlife than an area solely of cover or open land.

Go Native

Get creative when you’re starting a new landscape and check out native Missouri wildflowers, trees, and grasses. Not only do native plant species thrive in Missouri weather, the plants are beautiful and support wildlife. Hummingbirds, songbirds, butterflies, lizards and even toads will become interesting neighbors in your yard. Gardens are amazing spaces, transforming the outside of your home into a special place to relax and play. Wildflowers give artistry to landscapes. Inspiring forms, textures and colors, each adding splendor to your garden.

To support nature near your home, try planting asters and sunflowers. These plants support the most wildlife. Asters are food for a large number of butterfly and moth species. Even violets, wild geraniums and black-eyed susans are favorites among insect pollinators. You’re creating an inviting garden by selecting the right native plants to provide food and shelter for the desired wildlife.

Get Help

Plan to join MDC’s free live Wild Webcast on Attracting Backyard Wildlife on Wednesday, July 1, at noon.

MDC Urban Wildlife Biologist Erin Shank of Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center will explain the basics of creating backyard wildlife habitat; the importance of native plants and insects for pollination, wildlife food, and other benefits: planning and designing native plantings; attracting birds; supporting pollinators such as butterflies and bees; and more.

Register in advance for the free live MDC Wild Webcast on Attracting Backyard Wildlife at and then join the webcast live on July 1 at noon.

Learn more about property improvements to attract wildlife from MDC at

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