Sheila Voss

  • Large multi-acre lot on the edge of Edwardsville, Illinois
  • Numerous habitat gardens including bird and pollinator-focused
  • Diverse array of native woody plants including trees

The Voss naturescape is located in Edwardsville, IL, not far from the SIUE campus and Watershed Nature Center, in a subdivision just beyond the outskirts of the city. The 2.6-acre habitat is bordered by a first-order seasonal stream that is part of the Cahokia Creek watershed. 

Since moving to the property in 2002, the family has planted hundreds of perennial wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees, 95% of which are native species, while also removing invasive species. The naturescape features multiple different habitat gardens, including a bird and butterfly garden outside their kitchen window, a rain garden in a low-lying area near the creek, a woodland shade garden, a fruit and nut forest, a vegetable and herb garden, and a solar prairie garden (surrounding the family’s in-ground solar array).

Tree-loving, the family has planted more than 50 trees including eight different species of oaks, Ohio buckeye, red buckeye, black gum, green hawthorn, American smoketree, flowering dogwood, redbud, common alder, sycamore, tulip tree, common hoptree, pawpaw, persimmon, American plum, black cherry, hackberry, bald cypress, River birch, and sassafras. 

Since 2015, the Voss family has been tracking their backyard biodiversity through the iNaturalist app. The Voss Backyard Biodiversity list currently boasts 435 observations of 263 separate plant and animal species confirmed by 203 identifiers around the world!