Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia


The loss or fragmentation of wildlife habitat due to human incursion, invasive or non-native species, changes in climate, lower genetic diversity, disease,  herbicides, pesticides, parasitism and predation pose challenges to the survival of many species. In the case of the monarch butterfly, deforestation in Mexico has reduced overwintering sites. In the United States, agricultural practices and expansion have reduced monarch breeding sites through the  destruction of milkweed (host plant to monarch larvae). Added to these threats are the extreme weather conditions occurring in the US, Canada, and Mexico.

We can aid pollinators and other wildlife by creating natural, sustainable and environmentally-friendly habitats on our properties. This means using primarily native plants (and removing invasive species), which are suited to local conditions and are naturally more pest and disease resistant. Native plants usually will require less watering and maintenance and little to no use of pesticides that can harm water quality and wildlife. Also, the more diverse a habitat’s vegetation in terms of species, shape, size (with horizontal and vertical layers) and seasonal interest, the more diverse the wildlife it will entice.

The following resources will aid you in attracting desirable wildlife species to your property; identifying wildlife when they come; and sharing your space without wildlife conflict.

How to Create Wildlife-Friendly Habitats

How to Identify Wildlife and Successfully Share Your Space


  1. Colony Loss 2016-2017: Preliminary Results. (2017, August 28). Retrieved February 26, 2018, from
  2. Centre, U. W. (2017, April 28). State of conservation report “Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve Report” by the State Party / Rapport de l’Etat partie sur l’état de … Retrieved February 26, 2018, from
  3. Cameron, S. A., Lozier, J. D., Strange, J. P., Koch, J. B., Cordes, N., Solter, L. F., & Griswold, T. L. (2011, January 11). Patterns of widespread decline in North American bumble bees. Retrieved March 02, 2018, from
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