Lifestyle

Community projects empower residents to preserve wildlife

Community Wildlife Habitat projects increase awareness and empower residents to act on behalf of wildlife. As habitat loss is the top threat to wildlife today, it has become more important to increase the amount of suitable habitat available for wildlife.

Courtney Sullivan from the National Wildlife Federation will speak from 6 to 7 p.m. Monday at the Enumclaw Public Library. The Community Biodiversity Stewardship Group and Sustainable Foothills Group from Buckley and Enumclaw will be hosting the presentation titled “Community Wildlife Habitat Projects.”

CWH projects promote healthier and more sustainable communities; provide opportunities for residents of all ages to act on behalf of wildlife; create habitat corridors for birds, butterflies, amphibians, small mammals and other wildlife; helps to keep streams and rivers clean; brings classrooms outdoors and reconnects students to nature and beautifies urban areas.

Several Washington communities have taken action, including Tukwila, Camano Island, Lake Forest Park, Fidalgo Island/Anacortes and Alki/West Seattle, which have all been certified.

In order to reestablish wildlife corridors and to reconnect people with nature, National Wildlife Federation developed the Community wildlife Habitat (CWH) certification program. This program mobilizes entire communities around preserving, restoring and creating attractive, low maintenance wildlife habitat in their backyards, places of work, schoolyards, parks and other community spaces. Providing opportunities for all residents to act on behalf of wildlife.

There are four basic requirements to establish a certified habitat.

• Food: seeds and berries from trees and shrubs; nectar and pollen from flowers and supplemental feeders.

• Water: birdbath or saucer of water; nearby river, pond, stream or oceanfront.

• Cover: dense vegetation from ground cover to shrubs and trees

• Places to raise young: layered and texturally diverse vegetation; bird and bat boxes.

Getting started is relatively easy.

Form a “habitat team” of driven community members with diverse backgrounds and capabilities from gardeners, to city council members, to landscapers, to teachers and other wildlife enthusiasts. Decide the size of the community project based on city limits, zip codes or a recognized area. Then set goals for the project based on the group’s focus and how they relate to the community’s needs and local conservation issues. Register the community by filling out the online form: www.nwf.org/backyardwildlifehabitat.com.

For tips on how to get a project started, contact the local National Wildlife Federation office in Seattle at 206-285-8707 ext. 108.

Sustainable Foothills Group provided the information for this story.

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