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Over the last 6-8 months, we’ve been working hard to make Backyard Ecology even better and to implement new ways to help people on an even deeper level. I am so excited because I can finally share some of what we’ve been working on!
Hi Everyone! Before we get started, I want to thank all our supporters on Patreon. Each month, they go above and beyond to financially contribute towards making the Backyard Ecology blog, podcast, and YouTube channel possible.
If you would like to join them, you can do so for less than the cost of a cup of coffee or a meal at your favorite fast food place. Or, if you would like to help out but prefer to make a one-time donation, then that’s also possible and greatly appreciated. I’ll have links in the show notes for both those options.
Although I really just want to jump straight into the big announcements, I think it might be helpful to give you a bit of the backstory because understanding how we got to where we are might help you better understand where we are going. And why I’m so excited.
If you’ve watched, listened to, or read any of our Backyard Ecology content, then I’m sure you can tell that Anthony and I are pretty big nature nerds. We always have been, even as little kids and long before we knew the other one existed. We both grew up spending lots of time outside watching and chasing critters and just enjoying nature.
When we went to college, we both majored in wildlife biology and happened to choose the same college. That’s where we met. It’s funny. Although it was our love of the wildlife and nature that we could find outside our doors as kids that drew us to this field, we both thought our careers would take us to far off, pristine locations to study strange and exotic critters. I don’t think either of us would have believed back then that we would be where we are now. I know I wouldn’t have believed it.
During the summers in college, we both worked different jobs that took us to a variety of places. Nothing as wild and exotic as we often dreamed of going, but not right outside our backdoors either, especially for me. I think, in some ways, I dreamed of traveling more and going more exotic places than Anthony did. But something always drew us back.
The deciduous forests, limestone bluffs, meandering creeks, open fields, and rolling hills with all their familiar plants and animals were “home.” We discovered that we really liked them and that this was where we wanted to be. Slowly the lure of those far off, exotic locations faded, and we once again became enthralled with the tiger beetles, tiger swallowtails, Carolina wrens, wolf spiders, box turtles, and all the other critters that we could find all around us.
I also realized that this view that all the really interesting plants and wildlife were somewhere else – somewhere far, far away – wasn’t unique. I saw scientists and researchers in all kinds of different natural resource related fields doing the same thing. I also saw neighbors and other people who I interacted with outside of work expressing similar views.
And it wasn’t a generational thing either. I watched people both much older and much younger than me overlooking what was available close by to visit or study somewhere further away. I’ve almost come to believe it’s a human trait – to take for granted what’s close and familiar; to believe that something less familiar and further away must in some way be “better.”
When I founded Backyard Ecology in 2020, I did so to combat the view that nature could only be found in some far off, pristine location. I wanted to help people appreciate and connect with the nature around them and then inspire them to create better pollinator and wildlife habitat in their yards and communities.
I had already been writing a blog for several years, so I just rebranded it under the Backyard Ecology name. The podcast was completely new. I also wanted to do videos but knew I couldn’t do everything, so I put that on the back burner. I leaned all in on providing lots of good, science-informed, educational content and information about our native plants and animals and how to attract pollinators and wildlife.
Last year, when Anthony offered to start the YouTube channel, I jumped at the chance to offer the video content that I had always dreamed about but didn’t have the time to produce. He took the same approach as I did towards providing lots of good, science-informed, educational content and information.
The blog, podcast, and YouTube channel are all growing and thriving. They are core, foundational pieces of Backyard Ecology, and I don’t see them ever going away. But what we’ve discovered is that education and information alone aren’t always enough.
Education and information are important, but often to make real change we need something more. We need guidance on how to apply everything we are learning to our unique situations and circumstances. We need encouragement to get started and support when things don’t go as planned. And those are things that can’t be provided by a blog, podcast, or video, which leads us to the work that Anthony and I have been doing behind the scenes this year.
In addition to continuing to improve the blog, podcast, videos, and website, we’ve also been developing ways to help people on a deeper and more personal level. Two of the ways that I am most excited about are the Backyard Ecology Community and our group coaching program.
The Backyard Ecology Community is a supportive membership community for people in the eastern U.S. who love nature and want to transform their yards and communities into ecosystems that support pollinators and wildlife. We created the membership community as a safe place to ask questions, celebrate accomplishments, help each other attract more pollinators and wildlife, and geek out about nature.
We’ve been beta testing the community for the past 3 months with a small group of Founding Members and we’ve all absolutely loved it. The friendships and support that we’ve built in just a few short months is amazing. One of the things that I love the most about the community is how we all can learn from and help each other. That’s something that several of the other Founding Members have mentioned too.
So, one of the things that I’m super excited to announce today is that the Backyard Ecology Community is open for new members. I’ll have a link in the show notes for you to learn more if you are interested in joining us.
The second major announcement that I’m excited to make is that we are planning a series of group coaching programs to help participants go deeper in their ecological journeys and gain personalized support. The first group coaching program will take place in October 2023.
Design Your Pollinator and Wildlife Oasis: Garden-sized Plots is an intensive, 4-week, group coaching program that guides you through designing a customized pollinator and wildlife oasis. We specifically created it for homeowners in the eastern U.S. who are passionate about planting gardens that make a positive ecological impact.
The group coaching program is much more than just a course. We’ll be actively working with you and guiding you through the process of planning and designing your own personal oasis that works for your property, your goals, your family’s needs, and the needs of the pollinators and wildlife you want to attract.
There will be lots of interaction with us and other members of the coaching program through our live coaching sessions and our private coaching forum. And because we want to continue to be there and support you even after the coaching program ends, the program includes membership into the Backyard Ecology Community.
Again, we tested a version of the group coaching program this spring and the transformations were inspiring. If you’ve been wanting to do something but didn’t know where to start or were just feeling stuck, then I encourage you to check out our coaching program. I’ll have a link in the show notes to learn more about this group coaching program and to register.
Just as a side note, if you’re listening to this after October 2023 has come and gone, then don’t worry. We plan on offering this program once or twice a year. We’re also planning other group coaching programs for larger properties and potentially on other topics as well. So, go ahead and check out the group coaching link below. It’ll take you to our current offering or a wait list if you are between offerings.
Now, Anthony and I recognize that everyone is at different stages of their ecological journeys. And the community and group coaching programs aren’t going to be right for everyone. Or maybe not right at this particular instant in time. And that’s ok. We still want to be there for you and to help you at whatever stage you are at.
So, if you want to go a little deeper than the blog, podcast, and videos take you, but aren’t ready to join the community or register for one of our group coaching programs, then I encourage you to subscribe to our free newsletter. The Backyard Ecologist’s Newsletter includes stories, observations, and tips, as well as the latest news related to Backyard Ecology and links to the most recent Backyard Ecology content. Again, I’ll have a link in the show notes if you want to subscribe.
I am thrilled to have so many opportunities to help and serve you. I’m also grateful that you’ve chosen to share your ecological journey with us and to turn to us for guidance and support. Thank you for doing your part to create thriving ecosystems that support pollinators and wildlife.
To see all the ways that you can connect with us and become a Backyard Ecologist, visit www.backyardecology.net/join.
Until next week I encourage you to take some time to explore the nature in your yard and community.
- Monarch on swamp milkweed in a public garden.
- Photo credit: USDA, public domain
Backyard Ecology: Exploring Nature in Your Backyard
Nature isn’t just “out there.” It’s all around us, including right outside our doors. Hi, my name is Shannon Trimboli, and I am the host of Backyard Ecology. I live in southcentral Kentucky and am a wildlife biologist, educator, author, beekeeper, and owner of a nursery specializing in plants for pollinators and wildlife conservation. I invite you to join me as we ignite our curiosity and natural wonder, explore our yards and communities, and improve our local pollinator and wildlife habitat. Learn more or subscribe to my email list at www.backyardecology.net.