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Explore more - Habitat Stepping Stones

Are you interested in creating habitat for native animals in your backyard but don’t know where to start?

Cessnock City Council has joined the Habitat Stepping Stones program, coordinated through Macquarie University. By encouraging local residents to create a habitat stepping stone in their backyards, we can help our local wildlife in their movement through urban areas, have food, homes and water, and improve on our existing biodiversity corridors and habitat.

It’s easy to get involved! Just add a few habitat elements to your backyard or balcony to create a valuable wildlife-friendly stopover. Here's how it works…

1. Discover

Go to the Habitat Stepping Stones website to discover the elements to add to your backyard.

There are three element categories


Different birds and animals eat different things, so the more variety of food plants you have in your garden. Planting locally native food plants into your garden (low, medium and tall) will help to attract more insects, birds and animals.



Water is not only for drinking, but also for bathing and moistening porous skin from drying out.  Installing water feature doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. A simple bowl of water to bird bath, or larger pond can help provide water for our wildlife.



Wildlife needs shelter to escape predators and raise young. Many different plants at varying heights create shelter and nesting opportunities, rocks and brush piles help hiding a nesting animals, and logs and nest boxes can provide vital nesting habitat for native birds and animals, particularly in areas where large mature trees with hollows have been removed.

2. Pledge

Pledge what habitat elements under food, water or shelter. You will be given a mark on the Habitat Stepping Stones Map and receive a small plaque to add to your front fence. Also, you’ll have access to discounts from local & nearby nurseries.

Select three or more elements to add to your place. You can even show you care by choosing to have a bird appear on our online map.

Any 3 elements = Green bird
Any 5 elements = Blue bird
Any 7+ elements = Red bird

Suppliers for this program

Check out the Suppliers list, on where to get plants and materials. For most, you’ll get a 10% discount if you show them your Habitat Stepping Stone plaque. Don’t’ forget to ask local nurseries about plants suitable to your local area (provenance).

If you would like some further detail on creating habitat opportunities particularly for birds, Birds in Backyards have some great suggestions and guidelines at

The Cessnock Men’s Shed also makes nesting boxes which you can purchase for your garden for parrots. If you wish to find out about nesting boxes for other animals such as possums, owlets, or microbats, Trees In Newcastle has some good information available on their website, as well as the other Suppliers listed via this program.

3. Join the Community

Join the Habitat Stepping Stones Facebook community to share your photos, tips and stories.

What you get out of being part of the Habitat Stepping Stones community & support Cessnock’s biodiversity:

  • Enjoy the wonders of nature, right outside your window!
  • Plus, discounts from local and Sydney region nurseries.
  • Plus, local wildlife news and tips.
  • Plus, a Habitat Stepping Stone plaque for your front fence.

 Get the family, kids and neighbours involved and excited about helping out through Habitat Stepping Stones!    

You can also download a Habitat Stepping Stones brochure, for print or email.

For help to identify local wildlife visitors to your garden, check out the information and apps on our Citizen Science & National Parks webpage.