A Utah State University graduate student has a plan to bring wildlife to the suburbs.

Sue Nordstrom's thesis project in USU's landscape architecture and environmental planning department is a design for a housing development with small lots and carefully planned common ground planted as a wooded lot.She got the idea from the way her father turned "three acres of nothing" in Farmington, N.M., into a small forest that supported numerous birds.

In her project, the common ground provides youngsters a "neat place to explore, grow up and learn about," she said.

Reducing the area taken up by lots and streets provides more room for wildlife and open space without reducing the number of lots, Nordstrom said.

The open "commons" would be heavily planted in three tiers: ground cover, a middle layer and a canopy layer, she said.

She said that to meet the needs of urban wildlife, large-scale planning is important. Movement corridors are needed, and these cross property lines.

"Our tidy, neat, clean approach to lawns and hedges has eliminated cover and feed that many birds need and encourages a few birds that have adapted - sparrows, starlings and robins," Nordstrom said.

"Attracting a variety of species would enrich the lives of the people who might live in this kind of development," she said.