Monday, October 7, 2013

Certified Wildlife Habitat

The National Wildlife Federation promotes certification of habitats as mini-refuges that because of the owner's conscientious planning, landscaping and sustainable gardening, provide quality habitat for wildlife with food, water, cover and places to raise their young.  The NWF has set guidelines for the certification program, which are aimed to help transform outdoor spaces away from lawn-dominated areas that contain invasive exotic plants and chemical pesticides/fertilizers, moving toward a native plant-based, chemical free, wildlife-friendly habitat.  After submitting the application with a fee I recollect being close to $20 in April of 2010, we received certificate No. 128,592.  I believe they have now certified over 160,000 habitats.  
While I have recently seen some posts lamenting the fact that it's become increasingly easier to obtain certification filling out a shorter application on an honor basis and submitting the required fee,  it seems more important to spread the message encouraging increasing numbers of people to make small changes to preserve native habitats than concerning ourselves with exactly how many plants individuals have included in their spaces.   Once we get going, most of us will continue to make changes to our landscapes with increasing concern for the small, though potentially significant effect these changes can have on the environment in aggregate as time goes by.  

Creating a National Wildlife Federation's Certified WIldlife Habitat in our yard included:

Food sources (minimum of 3)

  Food provided naturally by plants seeds
  • berries
  • nectar
  • sap
  • foliage/twigs
  • pollen
 Supplemental feeders
  • seed-tube feeder
  • seed-finch socks
  • squirrel-proof feeder
  • hummingbird feeders

Water Sources
  • birdbath
  • pond
  • rain garden
  • (lake-across street)

Cover & Places to Raise Young (minimum 3)
  • mature trees
  • evergreens
  • host plants for caterpillars
  • groundcover
  • pond
  • wetland
  • nesting box/roosting hous
  • rock pile/wall

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