Hurricane woman transforms sinkhole into ‘wildlife oasis’

Local News

HURRICANE, WV (WOWK) – It can be difficult to put a positive spin on a tough situation, especially when dealing with a sinkhole in your yard.

But for Hurricane, West Virginia resident and West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) employee, Kim Harbour, her plan was not only to fix her problem but also to provide a service to the environment.

I’ve been calling it from “sinkhole to wildlife oasis.”

Kim Harbour, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) employee

Harbour says for the past two years a 30-year-old stormwater sewer in the subdivision has caused major issues in her yard. The most recent: an almost 15-ft. wide by 4-ft. deep sinkhole.

After many attempts to contact the city about fixing it, Harbour decided to take matters into her own hands. She and her family began transforming the sinkhole into a bird and butterfly garden back in April, right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

After being forced to work from home due to the pandemic, Harbour found she could use her free time to her advantage.

When I started this project, it was taking the time that I would have been commuting and dedicating it to gardening.

Kim Harbour, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) employee

Harbour’s garden or “oasis” has been certified by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) as part of it’s “Garden for Wildlife” program. She says anyone can become certified by the NWF by following a few standards:

  • support at least two animal species
  • emphasize native plants
  • must avoid pesticides

For more information on becoming certified by the NWF, click here.

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