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A beginner's guide to conservation

You can support Australia’s beautiful flora and fauna from your very own backyard.

Australia’s natural environment is unique, with over 90 per cent of Australia’s plant species, 87 per cent of our mammals and 45 per cent of our birds found nowhere else in the world.

“Many Australians are unaware how simple it is to get involved in conservation,” says Ian Darbyshire, CEO of the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife.

Here are five simple ways you can help the environment from your own backyard.

1. Go chemical free

Instead of dousing your plants in chemicals to ward off bad bugs, encourage harmless natural predators. Ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies all feed on plant-eaters like aphids. Backing off the pesticides may be enough to encourage these little guard dogs, but you can also buy their eggs from Australian retailers online.

2. Keep an eye on your pets

We love them, but sometimes we need to keep them out of trouble. By keeping your cat or dog indoors as often as possible, you can keep them from attacking the natives that call your backyard home. Another option is to fence off parts of your backyard so possums and koalas don’t have to worry about being attacked as they move about.

3. Plant native

Planting natives from your local area is a great way to support the natural environment. Try contacting your local council for a list of fl ora indigenous to your surroundings. Nectar-producing plants like grevilleas, bottlebrushes and banksias are a great way to add some colour while also attracting beautiful native birds.

4. Bee friendly

Native bees and other pollen-carrying insects are perfect for keeping your plants healthy throughout the year. Bees love hollow logs, holes in trees and hollows in dead plants, so creating a bee hotel can be as simple as creating some holes around your garden. It won’t take long for bees to start building a home once you make a nice space for them.

5. Lend a helping hand

If you find a sick or injured animal in your backyard, contact a wildlife carer such as WIRES. Many of these have 24-hour hotlines. Keep any numbers you might need on the fridge or in your phone, and keep a blanket and cardboard box in  your car in case you need to transport an animal to the vet.