This time of year, we are often reminded to not leave any fruit or berries lying on the ground in our yards as it can serve as an enticement for wildlife.

Lisa Dahlseide, Conservation Biologist with the Cochrane Ecological Institute confirms, “It’s really important to pick up all of that extra fruit that is falling from the trees to avoid bears but also coyotes actually love crab apples, it’s one of their favourite foods.”

Instead of putting the unused fruit or pumpkins in the compost bin, the Cochrane Ecological Institute will happily take it off your hands to feed their wildlife.  The Institute has quite an array of guests Dahlseide says, “This year we received an orphaned elk, moose and fawn and they love all of those apples and pears and whatever other fruits that are falling off the trees.”

Also, don’t forget when you are done with your pumpkins the Institute would be happy to take them off your hands too as Dahlseide says, “Pumpkins are a favourite of our bison as well.”

If you have some Mountain Ash Berries, again, the Institute can put those to use too as Dahlseide explains, “We also have some Cedar Waxwings that are going to be overwintering with us. So, the berries from the Mountain Ash tree, are very much their most favourite thing they like to enjoy.”

Another way Dahlseide can make your fall yard cleanup easier is she can confirm that “Leaves are naturally good compost for our lawns and our gardens and all those things. So, it’s nice to just leave them. It’s easier for us as humans we don’t have to rake it then and then they decompose and add some nutrients back into the soil.” Leaf litter offers an important habitat and shelter from the winter for a lot of small insects.

Perhaps, if you have too many leaves and you do want to put your rake to use Dahlseide says, “As an option, some people might just want to rake them [leaves] towards underneath a tree or rake them and cover up their gardens and then the insects still have a little spot to hide throughout the winter and stay warm.”

The Institute had a very productive summer in helping some injured birds and Dahlseide is happy to report, “We had lots of successful releases in time for fall migration this year so that was wonderful because there were a few birds of prey that we were expecting to that we would be keeping over the winter. But they managed to heal up really well and were able to be successful at flying and hunting and all the different things, so they were released in time to do their migration and we’re really pleased that we had such a successful summer.”

The Cochrane Ecological Institute welcomes and appreciates unwanted fruit donations, and they can be dropped off at the Happy Tails Pet Retreat which is on the same property as the Ecological Institute.

For more information about the Cochrane Ecological Institute click HERE.