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  • kelseynhildebrand

A Little About Me...

My name is Kelsey Nicole, and I am passionate about many things. You may have noticed that this blog is housed on my circus website (I don't want to pay for two separate domain names, so they're linked, sorry y'all). I am currently working as a circus performer, instructor, and grant professional. So... why a blog about my front yard? Let's travel back in time a bit...

From 2012-2016 I attended OSU and got a degree in Natural Resource Ecology and Management. While there, I worked in a soil laboratory, volunteered with some cool doctoral candidates catching collared lizards and counting baby bluebirds, and met my now-husband, Edgar, serving pizza at the campus restaurant. When I graduated, I took the ONLY job in that field I could find working as a wildlife biologist in Alabama for an organization called NEON. I lived and worked there for almost three years and truly made some of my most treasured memories in the longleaf pine forests and swamps of the south. But I didn't feel like that was the right career path for me. I was seeing and learning all of these cool things, but I wanted EVERYBODY to know about them. More than that, I wanted them to know about their planet so together we can better care for it together. How can I do that?

The answer, of course, was to go back to school (right?). I came back to Oklahoma and got a degree in Museum Science and Management from TU, where I learned about the inner workings of nonprofits and informal education. Now, I use some of those skills as a circus performer and fundraising, but the thing is, I'm still not doing the thing I wanted to do when I moved back here in 2018. So now what?

See, I have always been extra excited about one component of nature above all else. BUGS! I LOVE TINY CRAWLING WIGGLING JUMPING FLYING BEINGS SO MUCH! I'm not talking about the flies you shoo off your plate or the buzzy mosquitos that leave itchy bites. I'm talking about the shiny greenish blue mouth parts on a jumping spider (I'm well aware that a spider isn't a "bug", don't @ me about it, you know what I mean), or the fastest animal in the world (for real guys, relative to body size), the tiger beetle. I've been staring in wonder at the underside of rocks for as long as I can remember. I know, it's weird. I can't fight it, I can only accept it.

But... their habitat is disappearing. The average suburban lawn in Oklahoma is made up of carefully manicured bermudagrass as well as a small collection of nonnative plant species that landscapers must have conspired to plant but they actually suck (here's looking at you, nandina and Bradford pear trees).

Up until now, I have never considered myself a plant person. I was always an animal person, a bug person, even a soil person. Plants were too daunting. There are so MANY. And they just pop up everywhere, without warning, whether you want them or not. And if you forget to water them, they just up and die - all your hard work, gone. Some of them leave tiny prickly hairs in your hands when you try to touch them!? Maintaining them without dumping gallons of expensive and dangerous chemicals into the universe is a lot of work, too. But I have learned that to be a PLANET person, one kind of has to be a PLANT person. The bugs and birds I adore need things to eat, breed on, and hide in. My soil needs good nutrients and roots to stabilize it. I got sick of staring at my dumb environmentally useless lawn and being daunted by the plant world, so I'm goin in!

This project has been many years in the making, and I finally started it in the summer of 2023. This blog will chronicle the many steps I have taken (and will be taking) to transform my standard suburban lawn into a tiny slice of heaven using no chemicals and on a budget. I'm going to show you my plants as well as the bugs and animals who benefit from them all year round. I'm fairly convinced only my mom and grandmas will read this, but who knows?

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