1606 N 600 Rd, Baldwin City, 66006

Life Beyond the Fence: Creating a Wildlife Bridge in Your Backyard PART 2: Native Shrubs

This second in our three-part series presented by Rachel Allai covers native shrubs.

“I used to think that our habitat was all gone. Our prairies disappeared, our forests just fragments. But then I realized something. The pieces, the memories are all around us! And our wildlife are skilled at finding and making use of every flower, tree and blade of grass. What if we could each find the pieces and repair just one square of the great quilt of nature? Join me for a fun, hands-on workshop where we will learn how to incorporate native plants back into our landscape, seeing our backyards with new eyes. And creating a wildlife bridge that not only connects animals to habitat, but us to each other.” —Rachel Allai

Wildlife bridges are being used all over the world to connect precious habitat. For turtles in Japan, monkeys in Costa Rica and even crabs on Christmas Island wildlife bridges have allowed safe passage across developed terrain. But what does it look like in Kansas? First, we need habitat, sources of connection! And for that answer, we ask our own wild neighbors. Monarchs may say gardens or “islands” of milkweed and native flowers. Flying squirrels may look for intact forest canopies. Our bigger mammals prefer our streams and waterways. By bringing back native plants into our own yards, we can establish connective habitat and become the bridge that our wildlife are needing right now. Join us for this exciting workshop series where we explore our own backyard wildlife bridge through garden layers. It’s time for Part 2: Native Shrubs and Small Trees!

Suggested Donation: $10 

Shrubs offered at this workshop (bare root from Missouri Dept. of Conservation): 

Eastern Wahoo
Silky Dogwood 
Flowering Dogwood 
Possum Haw (Deciduous Holly) 

American Persimmon 


  • Introduction to wildlife bridges
  • Relationships with our wild neighbors 
  • Ecological implications of creating habitat, the shrub layer
  • Visual: Connections 
  • Overview of native shrubs and small trees
  • Choosing native plants for your habitat 
  • Community planting
  • Working with conservation/bare root trees
  • Getting home/preparing your site
  • Future planning


Workshop Guide

Planting Seedlings

Rachel Allai moved to Kansas from St. Louis to study wildlife biology at Baker University. For over a decade, she traveled back and forth to Costa Rica constructing aerial wildlife bridges. This experience fueled her love for habitat restoration and conservation education. Since the Covid shut-down and becoming a new mom, she found herself grounded in Kansas exploring wild places, gardening and introducing herself to neighborhood trees! She is a teacher, musician, and nature enthusiast. You can find her teaching at Morning Song Forest School and Americana Music Academy. You can also find her playing music with Signal Ridge and Weda Skirts. She lives in Lawrence with her husband, wonder-filled son and fluffy orange cat, Wally. 

Missed PART 1? Don’t worry, you can watch it here!