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Certify Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat

I want to thank each of you who responded to my "feedback request". Your message is want to get your hands dirty and enjoy the flowers, the squirrels, the worms...and nature's best in backyard living!

With this feedback in mind, I'm proposing that we get our hands dirty together.

Friends won't understand quite why you get so excited. Family might question what you are doing...but if you want to really experience what you are learning about backyard habitat...I have a proposition for you!

"I challenge my "Backyard Nature Notes" readers
to get their backyard or a community habitat "certified"
in the National Wildlife Federation "Backyard Habitat" or
"Community Wildlife Habitat" programs." Carolyn Allen

As of July 29, 1999 there are 24,217 certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat sites. So let's join the movement.

Did you know that HALF of all habitat land is privately owned? This is a way every family can make a difference in providing support for birds, butterflies, toads, squirrels... and all your favorite insects, spiders and four footed friends.


It's not expensive...but it's a lot of fun. It's creative. It's leisurely...if you wish :-) And the goal of balanced habitat will bring you hours and hours of pleasure as you enjoy the wildlife right in your own backyard. If you already have a Certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat site...let me know. We'll make you our neighborly experts!

We'll ask questions...share tips...brainstorm ideas both small and grand... and we'll celebrate each step we make. Who knows where it will lead. But in the process, you will be able to learn more about your own backyard nature...and share the nurturing of nature with a special child in your life.

The National Wildlife Federation will give us help every step of the way, whether you want to set up a habitat on a tiny city balcony, or in a suburban backyard, or a rural acreage. OR if you want to enlist the help of your favorite group at school, church, or Scouting...or the neighborhood grocery store.

Starting a Backyard Wildlife Habitat project is not difficult. Just follow these steps!

1. Assess your yard or garden space. The first thing you need to do is identify the habitat elements that already exist in your yard or garden space. You may already be providing some habitat for wildlife!

2. Provide the four basic elements. All species have four basic requirements for survival. These are Food, Water, Cover, and Places to Raise Young.

3. Practice resource conservation in your own backyard. Conserving resources will not only help the wildlife in your own yard but will help improve your community’s environment.

4. Certify your backyard. Details on how and why you should become certified in the National Wildlife Federation’s Backyard Wildlife Habitat program.

The first step is to visit the NWF web site and learn about the programs...and choose which you want to do.

You can download and complete the application, then send it in to NWF with your $15 registration fee. Yes, there is this small charge...but your money will be well invested in the materials you receive and the work provided by the NWF on your behalf. It's definitely a win-win proposition!

Get the basic information here:

Go out in your backyard and look around! Watch the butterflies and hummingbirds dance in search of nectar. Listen to the trill of songbirds fill the air. Hear the plop of a frog jumping into a pond. This isn't your yard, you say? It could be. It's not hard, and it doesn't matter where you live or how much space you have.

The National Wildlife Federation's Backyard Wildlife Habitat program can help you save a place for wildlife right in your own backyard and community, while opening your eyes to the natural world around you, to be nourished by its wonders.


If you've already established your Backyard Wildlife habitat...maybe you are ready to tackle a Community Wildlife Habitat site. They are springing up across the country.

You can read about it here:

Need Help? There are NWF staff and resources available to assist you in making your habitat project a success.

*Want to register your community?
*Please fill out our Citizen Naturalist survey.

"When I first proposed the idea of a Community Wildlife Habitat project, I thought people might think I was crazy, but I was met with such great enthusiasm. It has been just wonderful!"
-Maureen Austin, Coordinator,
Alpine Community Wildlife Habitat Project

The steps are just a step up from your successful backyard project:

1.Form a Habitat Team
You need teamwork for your habitat to be a success.

2.Develop Vision Statement and Basic Plan of Action
The first task of the Habitat Team is to define and set clear and attainable project goals.

3.Register Your Community Project
The actual process from when a project is registered to Community Wildlife Habitat certification can be as long as
2-5 years, so by registering your project with us, NWF will be able to keep in touch with and support your community as it moves toward certification.

4.Certify the Community
To become certified, a community must meet a set of Required Criteria, and must complete five Elective Projects

So what do you say, nature lovers? Will you email your commitment to me...and we'll track your progress with weekly updates, encouragement and tips on how we are all progressing.

Take a deep breath...and take a nature break with the rest of us :-)

You'll find more details and ongoing updates at my website: Backyard

Carolyn Allen
A very excited Backyard Naturalist!

For more articles about WILDLIFE GARDENING

Garden Decor: Aquascaping for Beauty and Purpose
Butterfly & Caterpillar Gardening and the Environment
Water Gardening is the New Frontier
Rocky Sloped for Habitat
Mailorder Gardening for Wildlife Friendly seeds and plants
Butterflies are Flowers of the Air