Helpful Definitions

Bat Houses- 
Building and installing bat houses is a great way to aid in bat conservation and a fascinating way to observe bat behavior. Bats also feed on numerous insect populations, including mosquitos and other noxious insect invaders. A single bat can eat up to 1200 mosquito-sized insects every hour, and usually eat between 6000 and 8000 insects every night! Learn how to build your own here:

Berm- Low earthen walls adjacent to ditches that can be used to help retain runoff in a designed area along the downhill side of the location. 

Biofiltration Pond- Uses an organic filtration media with vegetation to remove pollutants. A typical biofilter consists of a vegetated swale or basin overlaying a porous, sand-based filter medium with a drainage pipe at the bottom. Stormwater is diverted from a curb or pipe into the biofilter, where it flows through dense vegetation and temporarily ponds on the surface before slowly filtering down through the filter media. Depending on the design, treated flows are either infiltrated to underlying soils or collected in the underdrain system for conveyance to downstream waterways or storages for subsequent re-use. Find additional resources here:

Brush or Log Pile- Many animals, including birds, bats, squirrels, and raccoons make nests in hollow cavities and crevices in standing deadwood. The mosses, lichens, and fungi on deadwood attract insects, making it a valuable resource for diverse food options. These organisms also grow on snags and aid in the return of vital nutrients to the soil through the nitrogen cycle. Decaying logs on the forest floor also act as "nurse logs" for new seedlings. Must be well-planned and intentionally executed. Also be aware of the potential for snakes, rats, and other animal colonizers.

Butterfly Puddling Area- Similar to the seasonal pool. Butterflies often congregate on wet sand and mud to partake in "puddling," drinking water and extracting minerals from damp puddles. Place coarse sand in a shallow pan and then insert the pan in the soil of your habitat. Make sure to keep the sand moist.

Cultivate- The act or process of preparing the soil for the raising of crops human food, animal feed, or planting seed or for the production of fibers. It is often an essential method for maintaining soil health, preventing weed development, and encouraging crop growth. 

Edible Seed- Seed from a plant that has potential value for wildlife as a food source. Examples: Sunflowers, American Beautyberry, Barbados Cherry, Coralberry.

Foliage/Twigs- Verdant, herbaceous vegetation. Softwood and hardwood shrub and tree species. Small stands or areas of decomposing, mulchy leaf and wood matter for use by birds in nest building. Brush and leaf shelter for wildlife cover. Dead trees, decomposing logs or snags. Many butterfly and moth species overwinter as pupae in leaf litter.

Ground Cover- Dense leaf litter or mulch can potentially qualify for this attribute if they are not repeated in other categories. A bedding or nesting area within low plantings may qualify as well, depending on other attributes of the site. The preferred use of the term is dense plantings of ground cover native plant species, such as silver ponyfoot, Asian jasmine, wooly stemodia, or Mondo grass. Plenty of other options are available in native plant resources.

Infiltration Trench- Linear ditches that collect rainwater from adjacent surfaces, and their highly permeable soils allow water to quickly seep into the ground. The primary purpose is to treat stormwater quality. Rain falls on impervious surfaces and flows downhill collecting pollutants present. Infiltration trenches are dug in areas where they can intercept this surface flow.

Integrated Pest Management- An environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment. Please find more resources here:

Mature Tree- A tree whose trunk measures thirty (30) inches in circumference or more at twenty-four (24) inches above grade for a standard tree form. Usually measured 3-4 feet off of the ground. Small Tree: 12 - 30 feet tall. Medium Tree: 30 - 50 feet tall. Large Tree: over 50 feet tall. Any tree over 50 feet will immediately qualify.

Meadow/Prairie- An open habitat vegetated by grass, herbs, and other non-woody plants. Usually a combination of native grasses and wildflowers. Must be well-planned and thoughtfully executed to present a managed, purposeful, and intentional space. Certain areas or stands with delineated edges or borders are recommended.

Nesting Box- Provides an essential nesting area for many species of birds. It is also a great way to provide wildlife a place to raise young. While many species are able to hide their nests in dense foliage or grassy meadow areas, many others require holes for nesting, depending on the abandoned nesting holes or natural cavities formed from fallen branches for places to build nests. The reduction of natural habitat and increased competition from non-native species leaves some birds out of luck. Benefit your native bird species and find more resources on how to build your own here:

Permeable Pavers- Permeable paving systems are porous, so they allow water to infiltrate the pavement and drain into the ground or sub-base rock underneath. Permeable pavers have open cells that are filled with gravel or grass and are designed to let water enter into their surfaces, get detained in the rock base, and absorb into the ground beneath.

Rock Pile- Similar to a brush or log pile, can provide valuable habitat and shelter for insects, amphibians, and small mammals helping to foster a well-rounded ecosystem. Be advised that rock piles are prime habitat for scorpions. Must be well-planned, intentional, and thoughtfully executed.

Roosting Box- Roosting boxes differ from nest boxes in several ways, primarily as an over-winter shelter that can potentially house a group. A good roost box is designed to prevent the birds’ body heat from escaping, so, unlike a nest box, it has fewer ventilation holes. Also, its entrance hole is near the bottom of the box so the rising warmth doesn’t escape. Learn more about roosting boxes here:

Seasonal Pool- Vernal pools or wetland types, resembling larger puddles. Fill small basins at the base of trees or depressions in the landscape. Provide water, shelter and protection for amphibians as well as safe shelter for eggs without the potential threat of fish predation.

Soil Enhancement- A management program and planned process of soil improvement through successive compost and mulch applications, as well as the utilization of numerous other amendment practices to address specific soil shortcomings or issues.

Swale- A vegetated swale is a grass-lines depression that slows down runoff water velocity and infiltrates the water into the soil. 

Wet Pond- Water quality ponds that have a permanent pool of water. They are designed to capture and hold stormwater runoff to allow the settling of suspended solids and the removal of pollutants.