Anna Burger lives by a busy road just a minute’s walk from a metro station in the US capital Washington, but every morning she wakes up to a birdsong symphony.
Butterflies, squirrels and even the occasional deer also come to visit the tree-covered property that she has cultivated with a focus on native species that provide nesting space and nourishment for the local wildlife.
Well-manicured grass lawns have long been associated with the American Dream, but a growing “rewilding” movement now seeks to reclaim yard space for nature.
“We knew that putting chemicals on grass to try to keep it green seemed to be a futile process that wasn’t good for kids playing or for the environment,” Burger told AFP.
She and her husband bought the house in 1990 and “we’ve tried to make it friendly, making sure that we have water sources, making sure that there are food sources so these trees aren’t the most colorful but have great berries.”
The couple’s home is surrounded by several houses whose occupants take a more traditional approach toward their green space, but a stroll through the leafy Takoma Park neighborhood reveals many more where “ungardening” has taken root.
Precise definitions of what this means vary, but the concept of meddling less and celebrating nature more was notably popularized in 1993 book “Noah’s Garden” by Sara Stein, a Bible for the movement.
There are some great photos of what these sorts of home look like, including some certified by the National Wildlife Federation as wildlife habitats. Not for everyone, but not bad, either. Nearly every neighborhood has something like this in it, if you look for it.