Wildlife habitat certification highlights breakfast

Nearly 200 men and women filled the Enumclaw High School commons Feb. 18 for the 44th annual Enumclaw Garden Club Breakfast For the Birds.

The event, which included a silent auction and raffle, raises money for several causes. A percentage this year will go to enhance various local projects, Make A Difference Day, Habitat for Humanity and to purchase trees through World Vision.

As part of the morning’s event, Lydia Moore from the National Wildlife Federation presented “Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program,” in which she talked about the five components of habitat and encouraged audience members to make their homes a Certified Wildlife Habitat.

The first step is to provide food. Native plants, she explained, provide nectar, seeds and berries for a variety of wildlife. Feeders can supplement the natural food source.

It is also important to provide water, something all animals need for survival as well as bathing and breeding.

Wildlife need places to find shelter from weather and predators, so cover is another important factor.

Along the same line is places to raise young. She mentioned posting bird and bat houses.

Finally, and perhaps the largest to tackle, is sustainable gardening. How a home or business owner manages their garden can have an effect on the health of the soil, air, water and habitat for native wildlife as well as the human community.

She noted yards should be pesticide-free.

According to information Moore provided, the Environmental Protection Agency notes 1.1 million pounds of pesticides are applied to urban areas in the Puget Sound region each year.

She encouraged audience members to use mulch, remove invasive plants and plant native ones and to conserve water.

Doing these five things can help homeowners develop a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat.

There are 109,000 NWF Certified Wildlife Habitats worldwide and 4,676 in Washington.

There are also options, she said, for entire communities to become certified. There are 29 NWF Community Wildlife Habitats in the country, with five in Washington and more in the process.

For more information on certification or the National Wildlife Federation visit www.nwf.org.

The biggest draw for the Garden Club’s annual event is the Hat Parade and this year, once again, the competition was fierce and the creativity was as good as it gets.

Garden Club members or their guests swept the Hat Parade awards. Eileen Griffiths won for the “Blue Birds and Berries” category while the “Red Birds and Roses” award went to Karen Jezzelli. Jennifer Hansen won the “Yellow Birds and Daisies.” Diane Franchini took the “Brown Birds and Grasses” category and Carol Rubado won the “Blackbirds and Branches.”

This year’s hat judges were Shirley Linns, Chinook District director, Cathy Rigg, executive director of the Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce and Enumclaw Courier-Herald reporter Brenda Sexton.

Reach Brenda Sexton at bsexton@courierherald.com or 360-802-8206.