The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) announces that the community of Los Alamos, N.M. is putting out the welcome mat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife, by recently registering its Community Wildlife Habitat™ project with NWF.
Los Alamos is sending a clear and powerful message to communities all over America that caring people, working together, can help wildlife, wild places and the health of the environment. The residents Los Alamos are making a difference in their own community and beyond.
Since 1973, NWF has provided millions of people with the basic guidelines for making their landscapes more hospitable for wildlife. To date, through the Certified Wildlife Habitat™ program, NWF has certified more than 160,000 sites including yards, schools, businesses, community gardens, parks, and places of worship. Each of these sites provides the four basic elements that all wildlife will need to thrive: food, water, cover and places to raise young.
To date NWF has certified over 50 entire communities with about an equal number registered and in the process of becoming certified. Los Alamos is working to become part of this distinguished group. A Community Wildlife Habitat project brings people together for a common purpose – to create a community where people, flora and fauna can flourish.
Recently, therefore, a small group of volunteers, all members of PEEC (the Pajarito Environmental Education Center), gathered to help the county of Los Alamos to become a Community Wildlife Habitat. The steps toward becoming a Community Wildlife Habitat are already well under way as we already have over 75 homes in Los Alamos with Certified Wildlife Habitat designations.
What are the next steps? The committee is now tasked with reaching a total of 100 homes, two schools, and three public places, which can include parks and special places such as Ashley Pond and the PEEC Wildlife Habitat grounds. The committee also is seeking letters of endorsement from a variety of local businesses whose practices and missions are in concert with these ideas.
Los Alamos’s action plan includes a long-term commitment to citizen education about providing habitat for wildlife and employing sustainable gardening practices. These practices include reducing or eliminating the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, conserving water, growing native plants, removing invasive plants and composting.
What does our community “get” for becoming a Certified Wildlife Habitat? We get the pride and satisfaction of doing something good for our community and our wildlife, and the satisfaction of knowing that the application fee is going toward supporting the National Wildlife Federation and its good works. We already have a certificate of registration and lots of literature to distribute at PEEC events such as Earth Day.
Watch for more news of our progress toward becoming certified and be sure to stop by our information table at the next PEEC-sponsored Earth Day in spring. You can help us by joining the cause. By volunteering any amount of time that you can spare, you can help to spread the word about this exciting project. You can also help coordinate canyon clean ups, clear invasive weeds, help with kids’ activities, hold plant sales etc. Stop by PEEC (3540 Orange Street, Los Alamos) for more information, and see PEEC’s habitat as an example, which has a birdbath, brush pile, feeders and birdhouses along with drought-resistant trees and shrubs.
For more information on becoming involved in Los Alamos’s efforts to become a certified Community Wildlife Habitat, please contact members of the local committee: Michele Altherr (email@example.com), Selvi Viswanathan, Hari Viswanathan or Hedy Dunn.
To get started on your own gardening for wildlife adventure come to PEEC between 1-3 p.m. on any Friday afternoon when volunteer Selvi Viswanathan (firstname.lastname@example.org) is there to assist you, or visit NWF’s website at www.nwf.org/gardenforwildlife. The site offers access to continually-updated information and resources for habitat projects, along with a wealth of other information on wildlife and wild places, and how to help protect these precious natural resources.
National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization, inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.