seen hummingbirds, finches and other wild birds visit her yard.
The brightly colored fish are easy to spot in the pond, where
green and brown frogs hide among the rocks and plants that line it.
"They're really hard to see, because when they're little, they
camouflage themselves like crazy," Pisano said.
Pisano finished her backyard project to expand the pond around
April, she said.
"I did it all myself. I didn't have a contractor. All the rocks,
except for these big ones, I moved myself," Pisano said.
The animals share Pisano's home with Cali, her shar-pei dog.
Cali's job is to warn Pisano if any unwelcome animals find her way
into the yard.
Pisano has a motion-activated sprinkler set up around the pond to
spray water if any raccoons come near the pond, and Pisano said Cali
will find her if the dog hears the sprinkler.
Raccoons are not welcome near the pond because they eat fish.
Pisano's yard is listed by the National Wildlife Federation as an
official Backyard Wildlife Habitat. Pisano began her project before
she learned of the habitat program. At the start, her goal was simply
to have a place for fish and frogs in her yard.
"I got the pond gene from my dad. We always had frogs at this
really big pond at my dad's house," she said.
To receive an official Backyard Wildlife Habitat designation, an
applicant must prove to National Wildlife Federation naturalists that
the habitat has food, water, shelter and places for animals to raise
their young, habitat program spokeswoman Mary Burnette said.
People don't necessarily need a yard to have a habitat.
Burnette said the federation has awarded the designation to
butterfly gardens that have been set up at apartment balconies.
The federation promotes the program on the Animal Planet show
"Backyard Habitat." An episode of the show was taped at the Costa
Mesa home of Forrest and Sara Breese in June.
* ANDREW EDWARDS covers business and the environment. He can be
reached at (714) 966-4624 or by e-mail at