Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Create a Certified Wildlife Habitat

Whether you have an apartment balcony, a 20-acre farm, or just your standard suburban home, you can create a garden that attracts beautiful wildlife and helps restore habitat in commercial and residential areas. By simply providing food, water, cover and a place for wildlife to raise their young--and by incorporating sustainable gardening practices --you not only help wildlife, but you also qualify to have your garden become an official Certified Wildlife Habitat™.

Provide Food for Wildlife

Everyone needs to eat! Planting native forbs, shrubs and trees is the easiest way to provide the foliage, nectar, pollen, berries, seeds and nuts that many species of wildlife require to survive and thrive. You can also incorporate supplemental feeders and food sources.

Supply Water for Wildlife

Wildlife need clean water sources for many purposes, including drinking, bathing and reproduction. Water sources may include natural features such as ponds, lakes, rivers, springs, oceans and wetlands; or human-made features such as bird baths, puddling areas for butterflies, installed ponds or rain gardens.

Create Cover for Wildlife

Wildlife require places to hide in order to feel safe from people, predators and inclement weather. Consider Natural Features such as Deadwood and Snags. Use things like native vegetation, shrubs, thickets and brush piles.

Give Wildlife a Place to Raise Their Young

Beneficial Wildlife need a sheltered place to raise their offspring. Many places for cover can double as locations where wildlife can raise young, from wildflower meadows and bushes where many butterflies and moths lay their eggs, or caves where bats roost and form colonies.

Let Your Garden Go Green

How you maintain your garden or landscape can have an important effect on the health of the soil, air, water and habitat for native wildlife--as well as the human community nearby. Reducing chemical use, composting, mulching and reducing turf grass in your yard are important steps to gardening greener.

Once you have provided these essential elements to make a healthy and sustainable wildlife habitat, Get your Certified wildlife habitat sign and proudly post it in your garden. Join the thousands of forward-thinking homeowners and wildlife enthusiasts across the country who have been recognized for creating havens for neighborhood wildlife in their very own yards. These individuals have provided the essential elements for healthy and sustainable wildlife habitats and have earned the distinction of being part of National Wildlife Federation's Certified Wildlife Habitat™ program.

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