White-lined sphinx moth resting in my garden
A gardening neighbor tells me that the City of Austin is encouraging residents to certify their yards as Wildlife Habitats by the National Wildlife Federation. This “green” initiative was announced last month, on June 11, at the NWF site. Alice Nance wrote,
Austin is on its way to becoming the largest NWF-certified Community Wildlife Habitat in the country.
The City of Austin recently announced its plan to become certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a Community Wildlife Habitat. Once certified, Austin will be the largest city in the country and the first in Texas to become certified!
To qualify, Austin needs around 300 new individuals to certify their own backyards as Wildlife Habitats with the National Wildlife Federation. Creating wildlife habitat gardens not only helps local wildlife survive in urban areas but also promotes water conservation, builds healthier communities, and can even mitigate the impacts of climate change. And the program is not limited to homes with yards – you can turn a space as small as an apartment porch into a haven for wildlife.
To learn more about the four elements wildlife need and how you can create a home for wildlife no matter where you live, click here.
I’ve known about this program for years, and my garden would easily meet the requirements. Probably yours would too. All you need to do is fill out an application verifying that your yard provides wildlife with elements from each of the following areas:
Food Sources. For example: Native plants, seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, nectar
Water Sources. For example: Birdbath, pond, water garden, stream
Places for Cover. For example: Thicket, rockpile, birdhouse
Places to Raise Young. For example: Dense shrubs, vegetation, nesting box, pond
Sustainable Gardening. For example: Mulch, compost, rain garden, chemical-free fertilizer
There is an application fee of $15 that gets you NWF membership for a year and a subscription to its magazine, plus you know the money’s going to a good cause. And certifying your garden will help Austin reach its goal.
So, c’mon, Austin gardeners! Let’s certify our gardens through NWF. It’s easy. It’s good for wildlife and the environment. And it’s bragging rights for Austin, already the garden-blog capital of the world. Let’s help Austin prove that it’s the wildlife-friendly, green-gardening city that we already know it is.