McALLEN Quinta Mazatlan, the McAllen Wing of the World Birding Center, will present the highly-rated Backyard Habitat Steward Program again this spring.

Starting Feb. 4, you can become a habitat steward and make a difference by starting in your own backyard. As a Participant, you will enjoy 15 hours of classroom and hands-on training and will be encouraged to create a space in your own yard, business, or school which will be both wildlife-friendly and attractive. Whether you have a large lot or a mobile home you will gain the knowledge to start naturescaping your yard.

Naturescaping is a method of attractive, low-maintenance, cost-saving landscaping that incorporates native plants. Naturescaping allows both humans and wildlife to thrive in a natural habitat.

The Rio Grande Valley hosts a number of beautiful birds and butterflies throughout the year. Naturescaping will attract them to your yard where they can feed, drink, and rest while you get the pleasure of observing them.

Topics for the six-session program include: Wildlife in Your Backyard, Xeriscaping to Reduce Water Usage, Green Tips, Top Native Plants, Native Trees and Soil, Garden Ideas, Compost and Mulch, Offering Shelter, and Feeding Birds. Local experts will be on-hand to answer your questions. You will also tour the Gardens of Quinta Mazatlan to get ideas and inspiration for your own backyard. In addition to learning how to attract wildlife, you will make your own "hanging mesquite bird feeder" which attracts Great Kiskadees, Green Jays, and other colorful Valley birds.

This spring, the Backyard Habitat Steward program will be hosted on Saturdays from 9:00-11:30 a.m. from February 4 through March 10. Registration fee is $60 on a first-come-first-serve basis. Book your spot now or give the gift of the class to a loved one! More information can be found on our website (www.quintamazatlan.com), by calling 681-3370, or by emailing cwilliams@mcallen.net. Upon completion of Quinta Mazatlan's Backyard Habitat Steward program, participants will have the knowledge and resources necessary to transform their yard into rich wildlife habitat and have the opportunity to become a Certified Backyard Habitat Steward. We hope to see you there!