The National Wildlife Federation is ramping up its Certified Wildlife Habitat program. Thousands of home and school gardeners already participate in the program, which allows families, students and others an opportunity for deeper enjoyment of nearby nature, as well as the education and satisfaction that comes from knowing that their spaces are helping local wildlife flourish. Participants garden on urban balconies, rural farms, and everything in between.
The name might sound a little intimidating, but the elements that go into a Certified Wildlife Habitat are not difficult to achieve. These include supplying local animals with water and food sources and shelter, and gardening sustainably. The NWF web site has easy-to-follow instructions and tips.
NWF also has a wonderful article about how to make wildlife gardening fun and rewarding for children.
C&NN Co-founder Richard Louv calls the act of creating a habitat no less than world-changing. In his blog, he wrote about the Wildlife Habitat program, What if we were to take part in (animal) migrations by nurturing a planting a few feet from the barbecue grill? That grill, that yard, would then be connected to something large, magnificent, and not entirely explicable.
Also quoted in Louv’s piece is Dr. Douglas Tallamy, professor and author of the book Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens. Tallamy notes that gardeners have become important layers in the management of our nation’s wildlife. We can, he says, truly make a difference.
One person who is already making a difference is Nancy Salerno, a member of C&NN’s Natural Teachers Network and longtime Ohio pre-school teacher and director. Nancy wrote via e-mail, Recently I discovered the importance of getting children in touch with nature. For the past 4-5 years I have transformed our play yard into a Certified Natural Habitat through NWF, and a Certified Nature Explore Classroom through the Dimensions and Arbor Day Foundations. This could not have been a better move to benefit the children. We have seen them transform almost instantly. Our play yard has opened their ability to self-regulate.
She added that the children are learning, at very young ages, that they can have a positive impact on their communities.
Douglas, Nancy, and the other Certified Wildlife Habitat gardeners are making a difference — one child, plant, bird, butterfly, and insect at a time.