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Conservation Where You Live

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Forest Service co-sponsor a demonstration project at the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin. The two agencies are working together to help homeowners practice "conservation where you live," by letting them know about a variety of resource-friendly ways to build and landscape their homes.

FPL Demo Project Landscaping Plan

Landscape architect's drawing of Madison house demonstration project at Forest Products Laboratory.

The landscaping plan for the demonstration house was conceived by Bob Snieckus, ASLA, and Ginger Murphy of the NRCS headquarters in Washington, D.C. Detailed planning will be by the Wisconsin chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and landscape architecture students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Conserving While Landscaping

Using the right landscaping methods is one way to practice conservation where you live. If you think about the environment while you are planning new landscaping or improving existing landscaping, you are practicing conservation where you live.

The yard around the Madison house is a demonstration project -- one that shows homeowners how to landscape their yards in an environmentally friendly way. Some of the landscaping techniques used around the demonstration house are:

  • Planting trees to reduce heating and cooling costs, help clean the air, add beauty and color, provide shelter from the wind and the sun, and add value to the home.
  • Reducing the amount of water used for irrigation by growing xerophytic species (plants that are adapted to dry conditions), mulching, and adding water-retaining organic matter to the soil.
  • Planting shrubs and other plants that will provide shelter and food for wildlife, such as birds, butterflies, beneficial insects, and small animals.

These techniques are part of the Backyard Conservation project, a national effort led by NRCS. Plantings from the NRCS Plant Materials Program are used to address resource needs, such as erosion control, water conservation and wildlife food plants.

Using the right building methods is another good way to practice conservation where you live. Whether you are building or remodeling, consider some of the new ways to keep costs down, conserve our Nation's wood supply, and still capture the beauty and durability of wood. The same techniques and conservation tips displayed at the Madison house are on the Forest Products Laboratory's web site.

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