Frequently asked questions
What is a habitat stepping stone?
A habitat is an animal’s surrounding physical environment. All animals, from the smallest bug to the largest mammal (including us), need certain things within their habitat to survive and to thrive. By providing the types of food, water and shelter that benefit local wildlife, you can create a habitat link between the existing wildlife corridors in your area. A large bird of prey needs a high branch from which it can scout for food, while small birds such as finches and fairy-wrens need dense and prickly shrubs in which to hide. The greater the variety of food, shelter and water sources you have in your garden, the more native wildlife you will be helping.
How do habitat stepping stones help preserve biodiversity?
Providing habitat stepping stones between existing wildlife corridors enables animals to move through the landscape and is one of the most important factors in maintaining biodiversity.
- Habitat stepping stones:
- Facilitate the migration of species to buffer the effects of drought and fire
- Encourage genetic diversity which lessens in-breeding and susceptibility to disease
- Enable species to migrate as climate changes
How should I care for my new native plants?
With a bit of care your native plants will look bushy and glorious.
- Water your new plants at least until they are well established, and also when they are coming in to bloom (so they don’t drop their flowers). Otherwise, be guided by the plants themselves.
- Most native plants have evolved in soils that are low in phosphorus, so if you regularly give them a powerful fertiliser like chicken manure, they could keel over! Use fertilisers designed for Australian plants, or well-rotted cow manure, and you can’t go wrong.
- Prune! Prune! Prune! Pruning will keep your native plants looking bushy and vigorous, and encourage many more flowers – without it, they might end up looking straggly. As a general rule, prune straight after flowering. Cut behind the spent flower stems, and about one third of the current year’s growth. If the seeds will provide food for wildlife, then prune after most of the seeds have gone.
My council area is not listed on your website. Can I still join the Habitat Stepping Stones program?
The plants we list are specifically chosen to be beneficial to the wildlife in each particular council area. We work closely with council biodiversity officers when choosing which plants to include. If your council area is not on our list, it has not yet joined this program. If you send an email to email@example.com telling us your council’s name we will let you know when it joins up!
Can I still pledge if I am renting my property?
You don't need to own your property to create a habitat stepping stone. Nest boxes, water features and potted plants can even be added to a balcony!
My property has no useful habitat. Can I still participate?
Yes! You don't need to have any existing wildlife habitat. By joining the program you are beginning to create that habitat.
What plants should I avoid adding to my garden?
The NSW Government has a list of weeds that everyone should avoid planting in their garden.