Do It Yourself

Take action with these step-by-step guides (PDFs) to simple conservation projects to start making a difference in your community. We'll show you how to:

  • Build a Bat Box: The disappearance of bats would devastate our ecosystems. To help compensate for habitats that are lost, you can build a bat box.
  • Build a Bee House: One way you can help protect pollinators is to build a home for them. Mason bees lay their eggs in tree holes made by woodpeckers or insects, and you can replicate these holes by building your own bee condo.
  • Build a Bird Feeder from Recycled Materials: Bird feeders – and bird watching – are a great way to involve youth in wildlife conservation.
  • Build a Composter: Whether you have an abundance of lawn clippings or want to keep table scraps out of the landfill, you can easily turn waste into useful compost and help the environment in the process.
  • Build a Fish Crib: These "cribs" allow fish to hide, feed, and reproduce, making for a better fishing and aquatic health.
  • Build a Model Watershed: This model watershed offers a clear visual demonstration of how water picks up sediment and pollutants as it flows – and that simple measures can reduce the amount of polluted runoff that ends up in your watershed.
  • Build Nets to Catch and Preserve Stream Insects: With some basic materials, anyone can build nets that will work in just about any stream. The nets can be used for other purposes, such as exploring streams for fun or catching your own bait.
  • Build a Rain Barrel: One way you can help ease the strain on reservoirs and wells is to build a rain barrel – a container that’s hooked up to a downspout to collect and recycle rainwater. You’ll reduce your water bill and the runoff entering local storm drains.
  • Build a Rain Garden: Rain gardens can beautify your home and invite birds, butterflies, and beneficial insects, including those that eat mosquitoes.
  • Build a Vermicompost: Vermicomposting is the process of recycling food waste by feeding it to worms in a self-contained bins.
  • Build a Vernal Pond: Vernal pools provide wildlife habitat and feeding grounds, attract mosquito-eating critters, reduce stormwater runoff, and enhance the scenery.
  • Build a Wood Duck Box: Wood ducks prefer depositing their eggs in the holes of mature trees. This preference for lofty digs means that the ducks lose their nesting sites whenever forests are cleared, which explains the drop in America’s wood duck population over the last century.
  • Collect and Plant Nuts: With autumn comes an abundance of acorns, walnuts, and other nuts strewn across the ground. These native seeds can be planted in areas where more trees are needed or be raised for seedlings to be used in conservation projects.
  • Make a Bug Aquarium: Teaching people about stream health means showing them how to identify macroinvertebrates. So, whether you’re setting up an educational booth or talking to a group of first-time stream monitors, it helps to have a working aquarium that can showcase living critters such as mayfly and caddisfly nymphs.
  • Plan a Pollinator Garden: From bees to bats, our pollinators are in trouble – which spells trouble for us, because much of our food supply depends on pollinators. A pollinator garden can provide food and shelter for local pollinators.
  • Recycle a Christmas Tree: It gave your home that holiday spirit, but instead of throwing your tree to the curb, use it to spruce up other areas around your home.
Net in Stream_credit Bob Dry
Fish Crib_credit Maria Rabinky