Our urban homestead is now a certified wildlife habitat thanks to the National Wildlife Federation (and a small fee).

There is a house in our neighborhood with a metal plaque on one of their large trees stating they are certified, which is what originally piqued my interest.  A couple months later, the fine folks over at GardenPunks wrote a great blog post about their certification process as well. I couldn’t help but wonder if my urban plot would pass the test.

I went online to the NWF site where the application is (right here) and began the questionnaire. There are a few different areas you need to reach a minimum qualification score on. The main sections are Food, Water, Cover, Places to Raise Young, Sustainable Gardening Practices.

On our homestead, we provide lots of food for wildlife naturally on our property: berries, flora, fruit, nectar. But when it comes to water provided, we only have a birdbath. It has inspired me to consider a butterfly puddling area or a small pond. Because we can never have too many projects in our gardens, right? The last section on sustainability was where we really cleaned house. Only two methods were needed, but we had eight!

Once you meet minimum qualifications, the registration fee is $15 and you receive a certificate. I paid an extra $25 because I wanted the damn metal plaque for outside! I’m proud of the achievement and the plaque was also the initial way I began inspired to have my habitat become certified.

I am really excited for the neighbor kids that lounge all afternoon in our front yard to ask me about the sign. They don’t appear to have anyone at home teaching them about wildlife, nature, growing healthy food, etc. This should be a great conversation started, even with my adult neighbors stopping for an evening chat. And I am really excited to explore the possibilities of some new water features!

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Written by Renee Wilkinson