Whether you have a big yard, or maybe no yard at all, Healthy Home Habitats in Keene offers insight and ideas on how to create eco-friendly spaces for you and your family.

Michele Chalice, a 25-year former environmental landscape designer and natural resource manager, felt strongly about helping the world recover ecologically and realized she had a lot of knowledge and experience to offer people. She created Healthy Home Habitats about a year ago with family food gardening in mind, but she also offers environmental gardening and home efficiency plans for clients to use in and around their homes.

Clients looking to create gardens — whether they are interested in pollinator gardens to support a healthier ecosystem or wanting to create a space to grow their own food and support their families — can meet with Chalice outside in their own yards, with plenty of space to social distance. Spending time outside on a client’s property helps her look at what the property offers in terms of soil and sunlight.

Chalice takes the time to talk clients through what they are looking for and how much time they would like to spend, not only creating this space but also tending to it. She will discuss things like pets and children and how to incorporate any pre-existing ideas a client may have. Home efficiency plans are created in a similar way to the gardening plans and everything is catered specific to clients’ needs and wants.

Though a lengthy interview process, Chalice said no stones are left unturned. Once she gets a good grasp on what a client is looking for, she creates a plan and makes a very detailed document filled with photos, outlines and plans as well as hot links for sources such as specific plants or materials to use that are available in the area, information on local contractors that are available for hire and more.

Clients can then use this information as they please. According to Chalice, some people dive right into their plans with a goal to finish as soon as possible, while others choose to chip away little by little, working on things as time and money allows.

When the pandemic first started, Chalice came up with an idea to create some video content for families to follow along and learn how to successfully grow their own pea pods. Called Easy Peasy, it provides simple guidance for people to grow vining vegetables with their children. When stuck at home and dealing with remote learning, Chalice felt these videos were a great way to get families learning and bonding together over growing their own food.

The videos are still available on her website and are free for anyone to utilize. Chalice plans to create more videos and free content available to the public.

Healthy Home Habits offers workshops too. One held a few months ago at the Healthy Home Habitats house was all about bulbs. Another workshop is slated for the spring, when people can look at the bulbs that were planted and learn all about helpful ways in supporting the bumble bees.

Some other workshop ideas tentatively scheduled for this coming spring include:

  • Sustainable Backyard: Is a rain barrel right for you?
  • Friendly Bugs for Feeding Songbirds: Exploring what bugs songbirds need
  • and how to avoid using lawn chemicals
  • The Best Shade Trees: Which provide the best habitat for butterflies
  • and caterpillars?
  • Alternatives to Grass: Looking at different types of ground cover and
  • low-maintenance perennial gardens
  • Family Gardening: Using a plastic tub to create a trellis and planting different vegetables

Chalice hopes to collaborate with other local businesses and professionals who are passionate about creating a better environment.

For more information about Healthy Home Habitats and their workshops, or to book time to discuss gardening or home efficiency plans, visit healthyhomehabitats.com, email michele.chalice@gmail.com, or call (603) 313-9153. You can also find Healthy Home Habitats on Facebook (facebook.com/HealthyHomeHabitats).