To earn the rare distinction of a National Wildlife Federation (NWF) – Certified Community Habitat, we all must come together with a shared mission to create or restore native habitat gardens across our town to support the birds, butterflies, pollinators, and other wildlife. In doing so, the Garden for Wildlife program helps wildlife and gives people a daily connection to the natural world, literally right outside their door.
You can get involved creating wildlife-friendly gardens and landscapes in your own yard and also throughout our community. The National Wildlife Federation has recognized over 200,000 spaces representing 1.5 million acres across this country as Certified Wildlife Habitats in suburban yards, schools, campuses, corporate properties, farms, parks and more.
Here’s how the program works:
- Create habitat gardens at many locations around the town at homes, community properties, schools, places of worship, business properties, etc.
- Have each one individually Certified as a Wildlife Habitat
- When we have enough locations certified across town they would as a whole become a Certified Community Habitat.
- We also would need to meet a number of Administration Programing Goals along with the above Certified Habitat goals.
There are two sets of goals:
- Certified Habitat Goals – home gardens, community properties, schools, places of worship, business properties, etc. We need 175 points total based upon our population size.
- Program Goals – Registration, Outreach, Education, & Administration Goals. These goals are identical to all Community Habitats across the Country regardless of size.
There are a variety of tasks we can complete to get there, some of which are already done. Our Collingswood Community Habitat team, made up in part of Collingswood Green Team members, will work on the Program Goals, registration, outreach, education, and administrative points. We’re also working with the borough and county to certify public spaces like the PATCO parking lot, open space around Newton Creek, Knight Park, community gardens, schools, and other areas.
But that will only get us so far. We need you, our neighbors, to join us in this effort. Our estimate now is that we will need about 120 homes in town to be certified to achieve community certification status depending upon the number of schools, businesses, and community properties that also achieve certification.
The Certification Points System:
- Each home certified, including individual townhomes and apartments: 1 point
- Each common area certified, including public parks, HOA areas, businesses, places of worship, community gardens, farms, and municipal buildings: 3 points
- For each school certified as an NWF Schoolyard Habitat: 5 points
How to get Certified:
You can either create a new garden or amend an existing garden. A Garden for Wildlife contains the five basic tenets, food, water, shelter, places to raise their young, and uses sustainable practices. It provides habitat for butterflies, birds, pollinators and wildlife and starts with the inclusion of native and beneficial plants. That’s why we call it a wildlife habitat “garden.” When you plant the native plant species that wildlife depend on, you create habitat and begin to restore our local environment. Adding water sources, nesting boxes and other habitat features enhances the habitat value of your garden to wildlife. By choosing natural gardening practices, you make your yard a safe place for wildlife. It’s easier than you might think.
The NWF has a lot of information on how to do this. Start with the main NWF’s Garden For Wildlife information page. Go through the website for the information. Then when your garden is ready go to the Certification Info Page. If you should have any questions or need help please feel free to Contact Us for assistance.
It really is pretty easy to do. Basically you just create or amend an existing garden with native plants and beneficial plants that would support the native butterflies, birds, pollinators, and other wildlife. Plus add some kind of water feature, birdbath, pond, waterfall, fountain, rain garden, etc. Then just get certified and put up a sign on your property to show off to your neighbors in town that you can get from the NWF.
Our team will keep track of our progress, and provide regular updates on this site, to Mailing List Subscribers, and on our Facebook Page. Take a look at the Home Page for the latest numbers of Certified Habitats under Our Progress to Date that is towards the bottom.