What are some easy things I can do outside?

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1. Plant native, bee-friendly flowers.

Did you know that bees are a critical pollinator species and that their populations are in decline? Did you also know that bees are attracted to blue, yellow and purple flowers? If you feel like planting something bigger, consider a tree. Bees like flowering trees, too. See below for more information about planting bee-friendly flowers.

More information: NC Botanical Garden, NC Cooperative Extension

2. Switch to electric yard equipment.

Electric mowers and blowers produce zero "yard" emissions and don't require oil or gas. Other benefits: emissions associated with the production of electricity at the power plant are regulated and you don't have to breathe them in when you're doing yard work.

3. Move the mower blades up when warm weather arrives.

Did you know that taller blades of grass shade the roots and require less watering? Moving the mower blades up is not only good for the grass, it also reduces the need to water.

4. Water in the early morning.

When the weather is warm and dry, irrigate your yard in the early morning before the heat of the day sets in. This way you don't lose water through evaporation and use more than you need to.

5. Start a compost pile.

This creates reusable soil for your yard and reduces the volume of waste that goes to the landfill.

More information: Orange County Solid Waste

6. Hang a bird feeder, a hummingbird feeder, or both.

Help protect and nourish our local bird population. See if you can learn all of their names!

7. Create a Monarch waystation.

Monarch butterflies are a species that is vulnerable to habitat loss. Waystations are plantings, like milkweed, that provide a place for these butterflies to lay their eggs. Seed kits are available for purchase.

8. Install a rain barrel.

The water is free, and you can use it for watering plants.

9. Adopt a storm drain.

Do you have a storm drain near your home that always seems to be clogged with debris? Cleaning the top of the storm grate helps stormwater flow properly and prevents unwanted trash or other debris from getting into our local waterbodies.

10. Pick up after your dog.

This helps keep our local waterways cleaner and protects them from bacteria. Does your neighborhood have pet waste stations?