What do you do if you want to establish space for nature in a community but don’t have the land? Some communities in Britain and Portugal have approached this dilemma by rethinking what a nature reserve has to be. They asked themselves – what would happen if, instead of being one large piece of land, how about if it was created from a network of smaller areas to be found in domestic gardens and local parks and roadside spaces? It would work in our town too if we want it to … and it’s so easy.

A community such as Baie-D’Urfé with it’s extensive tree canopy, connected small parks and multiple large gardens is tailor-made for this approach.

Are you interested in being a supporter of a disseminated nature reserve in our town? Read on.

Nature doesn’t need much …La nature n’a pas besoin de beaucoup

Just a corner of a few gardens will make a huge differenceJuste un coin de quelques jardins fera une telle différence

What Do I Do?

To adopt this approach to making our town an integrated habitat for nature nobody has to give up their mown lawns (though that would be wonderful) or stop planting roses. It’s as simple as this:

  1. Decide to be a part of nature in Baie-D’Urfé by just doing a little.

  2. Decide to set aside a corner of your garden for wildlife. A small plot 2m x 2m in size (6ft x 6ft) in which you set up a bird feeder or allow some native flowers and grasses to establish or you install a small pond for wildlife is all it takes. Anything larger is a bonus. It’s your garden – you choose what to do. 

As the originators of this concept say, “Nobody should feel they can’t participate because they don’t have space – every little bit helps to form vital habitat links and green corridors from garden to garden to park to everywhere”

Participants elsewhere have said things like “This project has been pure joy – it feels so grassroots” and “It obliges you to be creative”. A spirit of community runs through everything. One of the originators points out that “The biggest success is empowerment. people realize they can play a small part in local conservation. It’s that freedom to do as much or as little you like, but at least do something.”

** Below are some photographs taken in Baie-D’Urfé gardens that show how this approach can be successful and enjoyable. Minimal effort, maximum pleasure. Click on any picture to view them all at full size in a gallery.


If this micro-approach to helping the natural world around our houses appeals to you why not think about how you could incorporate it into your garden this spring. It won’t be many weeks before the snows depart and we can get out there making our corner of the world a delight for all – human or animal. 

If you would like to discuss this and ask questions of town residents leave a comment below this article or email to greenbirding@gmail.ca or share your thoughts in the Nature Baie-D’Urfé Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/223275765362619 

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