Closeup of a male Western Tanager. Photo: Janet Stevens/Audubon Photography Awards
Closeup of a male Western Tanager. Photo: Janet Stevens/Audubon Photography Awards

Western Tanager. Photo: Janet Stevens/Audubon Photography Awards
Western Tanager. Photo: Janet Stevens/Audubon Photography Awards

Habitat Hero

The Palma Habitat Hero Garden

A small native garden provides habitat for birds in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The garden of Jack and Do Palma is a Habitat Hero gold certified bird-friendly garden. On less than an eighth of an acre in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the Palmas have shown that it’s possible to create wildlife habitat on even small properties. A diversity of native plants in their garden, including bee balm, perennial sunflowers, penstemon, grasses, columbine, aster, and conifers, provide birds nectar, seeds, and fruits as well as a place to rest.

“Our garden has been transformed into a haven for birds and pollinators,” says Jack. “During spring migration, I identified 29 bird species in my urban backyard, including Bullock's Orioles, Western Tanagers, Green-tailed Towhees and several species of sparrows. I also have had numerous butterfly species, including monarchs, and several bee species.”

Cheyenne is dependent on water from rain and snow in the nearby mountains. At the city’s current annual growth rate of one percent, the Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities expects average water demand to exceed average supply by 2044. By replacing their lawn with native, water-efficient plants, the Palmas are saving money on future water bills and lawn care costs while providing habitat for birds, pollinators, and other wildlife. They embody what it means to be a Habitat Hero and advocate for landscape stewardship.

Jack’s impact also extends beyond his yard. Since 2014, he has been an active member of the Cheyenne Habitat Hero Workshop Committee, which played a key role inorganizing, planting, and maintaining demonstration gardens at Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities and Cheyenne Botanic Gardens.  It also organizes annual Habitat Hero that inspire and enable even more community members to become Habitat Heroes.

Congratulations, Jack and Do, on your Habitat Hero gold certification!

To learn how you can become a Habitat Hero, click here or email Habitat Hero Coordinator Jamie Weiss at jweiss@audubon.org.

A water feature in the Palmas' garden.
A water feature in the Palmas' garden. Photo: Photo: Jack Palma

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