I came across a great post over at Unplug Your Kids, an awesome blog that shares the stories and experiences of a TV free family. The post about creating a certified wildlife habitat in your own backyard caught my eye. I had no idea such a thing was possible but you can have your backyard certified by the National Wildlife Foundation as a wildlife habitat. You need to have basic habitat elements…food, water, cover, and a place to raise young. Food might include native plants that provide berries, nuts, nectar, and seeds. Water inlcudes places for animals to drink such a a birth bath, pond, or stream. Cover might inlcude dense bushes, wooded areas, burrows, log piles, and stone walls. Places for animals to raise their young could be burrows, birdhouses, dense bushes, and wooded areas. Also, important are the ways in which you garden and care for landscape..with no chemical pesticides or fertilizers.
I was delighted to find that our pretty much already met all of the criteria and we went ahead and got our yard certified as a family project. Beforehand we all spent time outdoors looking to make sure we had all the bases for a habitat covered and finding ways to improve. We also took lots of pictures so we could make a slideshow of our backyard habitat and included some pictures of the kids too as it is important to me that my yard be a sanctuary for animals AND children. The kids had a great time doing this and we plan to make a slideshow for every season.
After you get certified you will get a nifty certificate from the National Wildlife Federation, they send a press release to your local press telling them about the habitat, and you can get a weather proof sign for your yard declaring it a certified wildlife habitat.