How to create a Certified Wildlife Habitat

Box Turtle (2)Creating a welcoming haven for local wildlife is easier than you think. Turning your outdoor space into a Certified Wildlife Habitat® is fun for the whole family. It will have a positive, long-lasting impact on you, your family, your neighborhood and the world around you. No matter where you live or what kind of green space you have access to, you can create your own Certified Wildlife Habitat. Here are just a few examples of the types of spaces that could qualify:

  • ApartmentIMG_3522
  • Balcony
  • Multi-acre farm
  • Schoolyard
  • Business park
  • Community space
  • Religious grounds
  • Anything in between

When we bought our home more than ten years ago, our children were merely toddlers. As native Midwesterners, we knew the value of being outside, digging in the dirt and catching fireflies. Those are the childhood memories we wanted our children to have in their backyard. We began by adding plants that attract birds and butterflies. We steered clear of pesticides and fertilizers. Next, we added bird baths and Hummingbird 001houses. Every year, we added feeders, water features or plants that attracted more wildlife to our yard. We register our property as a Certified Wildlife Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation in 2009. It was a simply process of checking-off the ways we provided these four essential elements:

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  • Water – bird baths and water features

Squirrel at water 002Common Flicker, birds in winter pond 023

  • DE-Tree-Swallow-Frame-Cover.jpg116_1666-Nesting-Wrens.JPGShelter &
  • Places to bear young – Thickets, brush piles, nesting boxes and mature trees serve double-duty providing both protection and nesting.

Once registered, we received a certificate with our habitat’s official number. We also purchased a weather-proof “Certified Wildlife Habitat” sign which is posted in our yard. People love to ask and learn about our Certified Wildlife habitat.
Bluebird on CWF Sign 4-2016 Our children are now teens and they still love going outside. When asked what they love most about our yard, they say “getting to experience wildlife every day.” Our outdoor space has fostered a life-long respect for nature and teaches us about our impact on the environment. Our garden is our oasis where we relax, recharge, and entertain. Every day brings something new. Our yard has been visited by many species including birds, butterflies, lady bugs, praying mantis, hummingbirds, squirrels, chipmunks, frogs, fish, bats, turtles, bunnies, deer, snakes and raccoons. Creating a Certified Wildlife Habitat is easy, fun and educational for the whole family. Let’s get started today!

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