What can one person do when large-scale human development replaces nearby natural habitat? Seattle-area lakeside resident Joanna Buehler spoke out for clean water and the needs of wildlife. As she watched parking lots and buildings replace wetlands and woods, she created a rain garden where storm-water runoff nourishes grasses, sedges, and many other species of wetland plants. And the birds are thriving!
Triple-Duty Garden: An Interview with Joanna Buehler
By Chris Peterson
This is BirdNote!
[Calls of Barn Swallows]
What can one person do when large-scale human development replaces nearby natural habitat? Seattle-area lakeside resident, Joanna Buehler, spoke out for clean water and the needs of wildlife. As she watched parking lots and buildings replace wetlands and woods, she created a rain garden where street drains emptied storm-water runoff onto her property.
Here’s Joanna: [chatter of Black-capped Chickadees behind]
“Basically, in the ‘80s more than three quarters of this watershed was in forest and farm and now we’re scarcely over a quarter left, so that has enormous implications for water quality… The first goal was to make it good for the salmon and the water quality. I wanted to be able to filter all the pollutants and the sediment coming off the plat before it got into the Lake. The second goal is that it would be wildlife friendly. And the third goal was that it would be beautiful…I wanted to have a ‘wildlife backyard.’ That became my passion.”
She put in grasses and sedges and plants that thrive in a wetland.
“We also put in this Indian Umbrella plant. In the spring it sends up these stems with pink flowers on the top and then these leaves grow up and they look like inverted umbrellas, and in the summer if you get water in them – they become bird baths and I can’t tell you how often I will see these little birds, chickadees…in these big leaves and they’ll splash around in there…”
[Black-capped Chickadees calling and fluttering of wings]
“That’s for me, that’s why I love to garden. It gives me my humanity back.”
You can see photos at birdnote.org. [Calls of Barn Swallows]
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Black-capped Chickadees chattering  S.R. Pantel; calls of Barn Swallows  recorded by G.A. Keller.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2013 Tune In to Nature.org November 2013 Narrator: Mary McCann
ID# garden-10-2013-11-16garden-10 Marantz V Tracks 311, 314, 315, 317