Taylortown habitat

Mike and Janie Nickey, Lamar County residents near Taylortown, recently had roughly 18 acres of land certified as a protected wildlife habitat.

TAYLORTOWN — Lamar County is home to a diverse cast of plants and animals, and one family near Taylortown has designated roughly 18 acres of land as a recognized wildlife habitat.

To become a certified wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation, an area must provide natural sources of food, water and habitation for wildlife, and must be maintained in a sustainable way that incorporates native plants and doesn’t rely on pesticides.

And for Mike and Janie Nickey, all those things can be found right in their backyard.

“There is such a variety of animals out here, and this land has all the things needed to become a wildlife habitat,” Janie Nickey said.

Rabbits, squirrels, frogs and foxes are just some of the many terrestrial animals that can be found in the habitat, speaking nothing of the countless aviary species that frequent the area, including owls, hummingbirds, bluebirds, waterfowl like geese and ducks and more. Butterflies are also a common sight through the area.

Janie Nickey said she’s even seen an otter in the creek that runs through the property.

In addition to the natural sources of habitation, food and water the land provides, the Nickeys have supplemented it with bird feeders, bird houses and more.

They also set up beekeeping hives.

In the future, they plan to continue adding more amenities to make the property even friendlier for native fauna and flora.

“The thing I want people to know is that you don’t need acres and acres of land to do this,” Janie Nickey said.

“In Houston, we set up a habitat on just a small piece of land that was less than a mile. Anyone can do their part to protect the wildlife.”

Tommy Culkin is a staff writer for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6972 or at tommy.culkin@theparisnews.com.

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