Planting plants that wildlife needs is a step in the right direction. Plant milkweed plants for monarch and queen butterflies, citrus plants for giant swallowtail butterflies, and passionflower vines for the Gulf fritillary butterfly. For these butterflies, these are their host plants, which are plants on which the butterflies lay their eggs. Some good plants for hummingbirds are vitex tree, bottlebrush shrub, and shrimp plants. Some good plants for birds are Turk's Cap and coral honeysuckle.
Another thing to do is to plant a tree or refrain from cutting down a tree this year. A single tree can provide habitat for all kinds of wildlife, like birds, insects, amphibians and small mammals.
Providing water for wildlife is really good to do. Finding water is sometimes hard for wildlife especially in the summer when pools of water dry up, or in winter when it is frozen. Then it is fun to watch them come and drink!
Try to refrain from using so many chemicals on your plants and yards. Many of the chemicals that we use outdoors to kill insect pests can also hurt some of our wildlife, especially our birds and butterflies. Also, many of the types of chemicals that are used on our lawns to make them greener get into the waterways and cause algae blooms and other environmental problems.
Another good thing to do is to carry a Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch guide with you to help you make smarter seafood buying decisions. Maybe a fish is being overfished or has an health concern if you eat it, and the seafood watch will indicate which are good to buy, good alternatives and which ones to avoid. Go to the link for the guide: http://www.seafoodwatch.org/seafood-recommendations/consumer-guides
Recycling helps too! One material not to buy is polystyrene #6. It is used for food services like cups and plates, packing peanuts, and insulated coolers. It is a principle component in marine debris. It can clog the digestive systems of marine animals and then kills them. Look for the numbers on the bottom of the recyclable materials you are buying and it if has #6, refrain from buying it. Number 5 sometimes looks very similar to #6, so you have to look for the number. It is good to recycle as much as you can so that more materials are not taken from the earth that can destroy an animal's natural habitat.
The orangutan's habitat in Indonesia is being terribly logged to make palm oil plantations. Check the products that you buy and see if they contain palm oil. If they do, find out if they have been harvested sustainably or not before purchasing that product.
Last, stay informed of political bills that involve wildlife and vote intelligently for the wildlife.
These are just a handful of steps that I have outlined today; there are many more that you can do. But, if all of us just start to try to do one more thing this year than we did in 2015, then we will make a positive step forward! Let's make 2016 a year where wildlife thrives!