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GARDENS of BABYLON HABITAT CHALLENGE

Welcome to the annual Babylon Gardens Challenge - a contest to promote songbird-friendly habitat in urban centres. SongBird partner, the Institute of Urban Ecology at Douglas College, offers workshops on urban habitat design for small spaces, and annually in the Babylon Challenge we award prizes for the best new and previously existing songbird and pollinator friendly balcony and rooftop habitat in Vancouver.

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THE CHALLENGE

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Situated on the Pacific flyway bird migration route, and the site of [what was still in 2000] the world's largest wild salmon run on the Fraser River, Vancouver has a unique opportunity to become a truly green city - where the old dichotomy of the city as outside of nature is broken down.

The goal of the Babylon Challenge is to celebrate existing songbird friendly balconies and to encourage new ones; and in the process transform our city into a wonder of the modern world: a new model for the famed ancient Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Songbird populations and diversity are indicators of ecosystem health. Habitat loss is the single biggest threat to songbird populations, as well as to other crucial pollinator species, such as butterflies, indigenous bees, flies, and hummingbirds. Plantings on apartment balconies and rooftops can collectively create walls of vegetation: an oasis of desperately needed food and water for migratory birds and pollinators. Remember that songbird and pollinator friendly means pesticide-free.

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