Start your year out right with a resolution that will make you feel inspired, empowered, and joyful! We’ve polled Xerces Society staff to compose a list of realistic and measurable new year’s resolution ideas that will benefit invertebrates, wildlife, nature, and you.
- Plant 50 native flowers. Restoring regionally-native flora provides habitat for native invertebrates. Source pollinator-safe plants to provide the best habitat. You could plant on your property or on friends’ or local property with permission.
- Convert 10% of your lawn square footage to native flora. Sacrifice some of your turf grass to native habitat restoration. Regionally-native plants will restore the homes and food sources of native wildlife.
- Fill any seasonal bloom gaps in your garden. Pollinators and other flower visitors need pollen and nectar throughout their annual active period. Identify the plants in your space, map bloom periods, and note any gaps. Plant a spread of native plants that bloom from early spring all the way through fall.
- Create and utilize a compost pile. A compost pile reduces waste, recycles organic materials, and provides habitat for many invertebrates all at the same time. Create a space for compost and commit to using it.
- Volunteer 30 hours with a local conservation group. Find a group in your community working on planting native habitat, removing invasive plants, managing land, or protecting wildlife and volunteer your time throughout the year.
- Transition landscaping plants to regionally-appropriate natives. Native plants use water efficiently because they are adapted to available resources in your region. They also provide habitat and food to native wildlife. Plant drought-tolerant plants in hot, dry regions.
- Leave the leaves and save the stems. Leaving autumn leaves provides habitat for creatures in the winter. And saving the stems gives bees a place to nest. Refrain from fall garden cleanup, or change the way you do it to support your wild neighbors.
- Provide nesting habitat for pollinators. Provide nesting resources and plants that give bees and other creatures a place to reproduce.
- Plant or expand a native milkweed plot. Milkweed is a wildflower. Plant native milkweed to provide habitat for monarch butterflies and many other critters. Finding native milkweed species that are pollinator-safe can be part of the challenge for this resolution. Choose native over tropical milkweed whenever possible.
- Keep monarchs in your garden wild. While it's tempting to help struggling monarchs, let nature run its course and keep monarchs wild.
- Turn off lights each night. Reduce light pollution at night to help creatures like fireflies that need darkness to thrive. Commit to a nightly routine for turning off lights inside and out.
- Record observations of 50 different invertebrate species. There are so many species in your neighborhood to discover. Record observations on iNaturalist, which can help you identify species with no prior knowledge. An alternative is to spend 30 minutes each week observing invertebrates and other wildlife.
- Join a community science project. If you are interested in finding and recording a certain type of invertebrate, join a Xerces community science project! Record observations throughout the year and contribute to the data informing conservation efforts.
- Reduce your carbon footprint by 5%. Climate change is a threat to the environment and all the creatures that live on earth. Calculate your carbon footprint and make adjustments to lessen it by the end of the year. You can choose to adjust your thermostat, find alternative transportation, change your purchasing or eating habits, recycle, and more.
- Read 12 books about invertebrates. Continue your invertebrate education with literature every month. Xerces and many others have published books about invertebrates and how to help them.
- Stop using pesticides altogether. Pesticides include insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and more. They are often harmful to wildlife. Embrace the natural world.
- Implement two ecological pest management methods. Combining multiple methods of ecologically managing pests reduces pesticide use. Try using physical barriers, attracting natural predators, rotating crops, or another method to keep pests under control.
- Catch and release home invaders. Change your response to a creature that has made its way indoors. Catch and release rather than killing these unwanted visitors.
- Raise $1,500 for the Xerces Society. Host a fundraiser amongst your friends to support the work that Xerces is already doing for wildlife.
- Share Xerces resources and conservation tips with 24 friends. Word of mouth is a powerful tool! Bring up conservation topics or offer to share a resource twice a month with friends.
- Contact a leader or representative each month. Choose a person in power and a topic each month to bring to their attention and ask for relevant action. Recipients could range from federal politicians to city council members. Topics are limitless, including conservation, biodiversity, habitat restoration, and climate change.
- Contact a company or business each month. Choose a business each month and ask management what they are doing to support conservation and sustainability. Create demand for ecological practices.
- Request pollinator-safe plant inventory from 10 nurseries. Find 10 regional plant sources and discuss the pollinator safety of their inventory. Help create demand for pesticide-free plants.
- Request Bee Better Certified inventory from 10 grocery stores. Help create demand for food that is grown and produced in a way that is certifiably better for invertebrates. Make your grocer aware of the Bee Better Certification and its integrity.
- Write a letter to an editor each month about invertebrates. A letter to the editor is an opinion article written by a member of the public rather than media staff. Write in each month for a chance to get the word out about invertebrate conservation.
- Lead the charge to establish your local as a Bee City or Campus. Pollinators find more safe spaces with Bee City USA. There are several ways that you can advocate for your community to become an affiliate.
- Seek a leadership role where you can make change for invertebrates. Run for office or pursue a leadership role that can better position you to help wildlife.
- Teach a child to love invertebrates. Kids who grow up respecting wildlife learn to appreciate their world and grow into conscientious adults. Start with the X Kids activity booklet.
- Share native plants and seeds with friends and neighbors. It is much easier to create habitat when the materials are provided to you. Harvest seeds from your native plants and share them out.
- Lobby for the removal of a city weed ordinance or homeowners association lawn restrictions. Native habitat is not the same as weeds!
- Stock 15 little free libraries with invertebrate books and resources. Have fun spotting these libraries and leave a treat for the next visitor.
- Execute a long term social media campaign for invertebrates. Use your social media accounts for good by sharing information about conservation, wildlife, and invertebrates. Use neighborhood networks like Next Door to engage your local community.
- Persuade three personal connections to reduce or eliminate pesticide use at home. See how many folks you can convert to an ecological approach to pest management. Less pesticide is better.
- Integrate a new practice or policy at work. Advocate for change in your workplace to contribute to conservation on the clock.
Tips for Sticking With Your Resolution
New Year's resolutions are famous for being abandoned partway through the year. With some strategic choices and tactics, you can make sure your resolution lasts all year long and that you complete your goals.
First, choose a resolution that actually motivates you. You are more likely to accomplish something that you genuinely aspire to do. Choose something that excites you and avoid resolutions that you feel external pressure to accomplish. Similarly, choose a goal that is realistic for you. You know yourself best. Don't set the bar so high that you won't be able to reach it.
Do, however, set a bar. Clarify and customize your metrics for success. A clear finish line is important for any goal; you need to know when exactly you have achieved it. We've suggested some metrics for success, and you can customize them to be a better fit for you. Adjust the quantity, frequency, or size of your goal as needed.
Take some time to outline a plan. Break your overall resolution into granular steps. Making the plan is the first thing you get to check off! Thinking the process through upfront will help you anticipate barriers and better allocate time.
If you are worried that you won't be able to complete an ambitious resolution, you can recruit a buddy or be open to pivoting. An accountability partner won't let you flop and you'll have fun achieving goals together. If that still doesn't work, pivoting is always better than quitting! Revise your goal if it's not working.
Finally, remember to celebrate your progress. Don't wait until the very end to show your pride. Reward yourself along the way and share the good work you are doing with others. We look forward to cheering you on! Thanks for making a difference for biodiversity in the new year!