Friday, June 5, 2009

Have a Certified Wildlife Habitat™ in Your Own Backyard

Posted by The Jill Smith Team at 8:05 PM
Have a Certified Wildlife Habitat™ in Your Own Backyard

The National Wildlife Federation offers a great program to restore natural habitat in your community whether you have an apartment balcony or multi-acre estate. By addressing 5 categories you can apply to have your home habitat certified by The Nation Wildlife Federation. The categories include supplying food, water and shelter for wildlife and creating green space that uses native species and conserves soil and water. This is a great project for families or anyone wanting to help sustain their local ecosystems.

The application process includes a $20 fee and a simple form outlining the features of your habitat. Included in the application fee is a certificate recognizing your certified habitat, free NWF membership with a one-year subscription to NWF quarterly newsletter and your habitat’s listing with the NWF’s Certified Wildlife Habitat™ registry. Once certified you can also purchase a Certified Wildlife Habitat™ yard sign to show your neighbors your commitment to the environment.

I have reposted The Nation Wildlife Federation’s guidelines for the Certified Wildlife Habitat™ requirements. Please visit their website for all the details and particulars.

Provide Food for Wildlife

Your habitat needs three of the following types of plants or supplemental feeders: Seeds from a plant • Berries • Nectar • Foliage/Twigs • Nuts • Fruits • Sap • Pollen • Suet • Bird Feeder • Squirrel Feeder • Hummingbird Feeder • Butterfly Feeder

Supply Water for Wildlife

Your habitat needs one of the following sources to provide clean water for wildlife to drink and bathe: Birdbath • Lake • Stream • Seasonal Pool • Ocean • Water Garden/Pond • River • Butterfly Puddling Area • Rain Garden • Spring

Create Cover for Your Habitat

Wildlife need at least two places to find shelter from the weather and predators: Wooded Area • Bramble Patch • Ground Cover • Rock Pile or Wall • Cave • Roosting Box • Dense Shrubs or Thicket • Evergreens • Brush or Log Pile • Burrow • Meadow or Prairie • Water Garden or Pond

Give Wildlife a Place to Raise Their Young

You need at least two places for wildlife to engage in courtship behavior, mate, and then bear and raise their young: Mature Trees • Meadow or Prairie • Nesting Box • Wetland • Cave • Host Plants for Caterpillars • Dead Trees or Snags • Dense Shrubs or a Thicket • Water Garden or Pond • Burrow

Garden in an Environmentally Friendly Way

You should be doing two things to help manage your habitat in a sustainable way. Soil and Water Conservation: Riparian Buffer • Capture Rain Water from Roof • Xeriscape (water-wise landscaping) • Drip or Soaker Hose for Irrigation • Limit Water Use • Reduce Erosion (i.e. ground cover, terraces) • Use Mulch • Rain Garden Controlling Exotic Species: Practice Integrated Pest Management • Remove Non-Native Plants and Animals • Use Native Plants • Reduce Lawn Areas • Organic Practices: Eliminate Chemical Pesticides • Eliminate Chemical Fertilizers • Compost

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