- January 4, 2018
Food, water, shelter, places to raise young, and sustainable practices–encouraging these five components in landscaping practices, is the goal of wildlife gardening programs throughout the United States. Habitat Network takes wildlife gardening to the next level by encouraging people to contribute their gardening efforts to a shared mapping platform. The data contributed by citizen scientists helps researchers understand the collective impact of our actions and provides people the feedback they need to plan and implement scientifically-sound wildlife gardens. At Habitat Network, we prefer to view residential development through the lens of opportunity and encourage everyone who loves nature to do their part.
For 45 years, the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife™ program has helped people create more than 215,000 certified wildlife habitats®, where they live, work, play, learn, and worship. Their Schoolyard Habitats, Community Wildlife Habitats, Mayors Monarch Pledge, and Sacred Grounds™ programs have extended their influence on creating habitat for wildlife across a diverse audience.
Working together Habitat Network and the Garden for Wildlife™program can create a platform that promotes greater synergy around wildlife gardening–accelerating the pace of wildlife habitat creation by connecting the work of like-minded individuals participating in both programs. The above mock photo is an example of how these programs can connect and support each other. The result could be a larger conservation community focused on sharing strategies, maps, and success stories.
Habitat Network (a partnership between The Nature Conservancy and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology) and the National Wildlife Federation are joining forces to encourage our respective program participants to map their efforts through the world’s first interactive mapping citizen-science social network. This combined effort is a win-win for both projects. Not only will it provide a concrete way to see results (increased acres, diverse combinations of native plants, water conservation practices..etc.) across our organizations’ respective participants’ habitat-rich properties, it will expand the sharing of practices among participants increasing opportunities for learning and growing successful gardens around the country. The tools can also be used to provide national and local groups with unique forums to organize for a greater ecological impact.
So what does this mean for you?
National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat® participant
- Visit www.habitat.network and consider adding a map of your Certified Wildlife Habitat® property. Creating a map adds your voice to the network of people creating habitat and sharing their work with the scientific community. When your map is created, share it with other NWF gardeners on the Habitat Network’s National Wildlife Federation Garden for Wildlife™ Group to connect and learn from others.
Habitat Network mappers
- Consider following the Garden for Wildlife™ model to make sure you provide food, water, cover, and a place to raise young in a sustainable way in your yard and then communicating this effort to your neighbors and community. If you take the plunge and certify via NWF, please make sure to return to Habitat Network and add your newly certified map to the Garden for Wildlife™ group on Habitat Network.
Finally, if you already participate in both programs (we are looking at you, you habitat superstars)
- Please consider joining the Garden for Wildlife™ group on Habitat Network and sharing your work with the community. Doing so allows us to identify NWF certified maps and understand the impact of yards in this select community. Also feel free to share your experience, expertise, and questions on Habitat Network’s forum page.
Below are Maps of Habitat Network properties that are also National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitats®
Here is an example of Habitat Network mapper, 4800Laurelann, who has also participated in the Garden for Wildlife certification. You can see their map communicates to fellow users and scientists how they are gardening for wildlife.
Food: Native plants and a diversity of feeders
Water: Bird baths, pond, and stormwater management feature
Shelter: Native plants, conifer hedges, and rock and brush piles
Young: Nest boxes, native plants, trees
Sustainable practices: Rain barrels, compost, no chemical use and vegetable garden
Another example of a user that has communicated their practices to the Habitat Network community. User Ocnjasbury has been selected to be featured on Habitat Network under our Featured Sites page. This is where we enjoy highlighting some of the great work and practices our users are reporting.
Food: Native plants and diversity of feeders
Water: Bird baths and a couple ponds on property.
Shelter: Native plants, rock and brush piles, conifer hedges, bat house
Young: Nest boxes, snags, bee house, native grasses
Sustainable practices: Composting, restored farmland, and vegetable garden
A final example is Rbarry04553. Notice that Rbarry04553 has done a great job gardening for wildlife by removing his entire front yard lawn and replacing it with native habitat.
Food: Native plants, diversity of feeders
Water: Bird bath, pond, and stream
Shelter: Rock and brush piles, logs, bat house
Young: Nest boxes, snags
Sustainable practices: Solar panels, rain barrels, composting, rain garden, no chemical use and vegetable garden