Feb 12, 2013

Certify Your Community as a Wildlife Habitat

photo courtesy of National Wildlife Federation
This year the National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Wildlife Habitat program celebrates its year of maintaining healthy and diverse animal habitats and ecosystems! With more than 150,000 Certified Wildlife Habitat sites across the country, NWF recognizes the profound influence of local sustainability groups and individual community members, and their role as some of the strongest catalysts for long-term, sustainable growth and restoration efforts. In Washington specifically, this grass- roots approach has had immense success and support along the Puget Sound corridor, from Bellingham to Gig Harbor and everywhere in between.

As NWF's Pacific Regional office welcomes in a new year, they also welcome new  ppportunities to enhance sustainability in our region through

supporting both small-and large-scale environmental stewardship initiatives. Take a moment and consider looking into two of their most popular, and wildly successful, programs in Washington:

Certified Wildlife Habitats
The Certified Wildlife Habitat program encourages people to garden for wildlife in order to create corridors of suitable habitat for wildlife, which is increasingly important, especially in urban areas. Creating wildlife friendly spaces requires people to provide five basic essentials: food, water, cover, places to raise young, and the use of sustainable practices. Washington residents can be recognized for their efforts by certifying their space as a wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation and our two partners, the WA Department of Fish and Wildlife and the NW Zoo and Aquarium Alliance.

The Washington triple certification application can be accessed here. When you certify, you receive:
  • A certificate from the National Wildlife Federation
  • A year membership to the National Wildlife Federation
  • A yard sign and certificate declaring the certified space as a Backyard Sanctuary from the WA Department of Fish and Wildlife.
As you can see, Seattle's wildlife habitat is scarce!

Community Wildlife Habitat Certification
A whole community can be certified as a Community Wildlife Habitat. This program is a point based system, dependent on the population size, in which a team works to make the community more wildlife friendly. Once the community has a certain number of homes, schools and public areas certified and the team has earned enough points through environmentally beneficial efforts, the community can be certified. A map shown here (full map here) shows the 30 communities in Washington that are currently taking action as a part of the Community Wildlife Habitat program. In fact, they have nearly 7,000 certified habitats and over 120 schoolyard habitats in Washington!

More information about these programs and an application can be found here and at www.nwf.org/gardenforwildlife. 

Please contact Cierra Hunziker, Education Outreach Coordinator, at hunzikerc@nwf.org or (206) 577-7809 with any questions or to discuss how you can get involved!

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