Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wildlife Certification

© Copyright - Pat D. Hemlepp (published with permission)

A lovely friend suggested that I read this article to help with the planning of our community garden. It talks about getting backyards (and businesses, parks, etc) certified for being wildlife friendly.

Dublin aims for citywide wildlife certification
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 By BRITTINY DUNLAP ThisWeek Staff Writer

The city of Dublin is working toward becoming a certified community by the National Wildlife Federation. It needs the help of residents to accomplish this task.
To obtain the certification, several city parks, businesses and at least 150 residences must be certified.

"We're doing all these great things, but this will be a great way for the whole community to be involved in the project," said Dublin's nature education coordinator, Mime Migliore.

Interested residents can download an online application that includes requirements for property designs, food, water sources, places for cover, places to raise young and sustainable gardening practices for wildlife such as butterflies and hummingbirds.

Dublin resident Sue Swyt and her husband, Bill Marek, certified their yard more than 10 years ago.

"We actually had everything to certify when we got the application," Swyt said. "I think most people in Dublin don't realize they can probably be certified already. It's just a matter of going and seeing what you have."

Swyt described her yard as a "typical Dublin backyard" that has plenty of room for her children to play in, but she and Marek have made small changes over the years to become friendlier to native plant and animal species.

"My biggest advice is to take a look at the application," Swyt said. "It's very simple and easier than you think. We thought we'd have to buy more plants and spend a lot of money, but we didn't. We were shocked to see all we had to do was fill (the application) out."

Many residents probably already have in place several things required for certification, Swyt said. For example, a pile of wood is considered a place for cover and a birdhouse is considered a place to raise young.

"In a way it joins us in an effort and in something green that's really beneficial to insects and birds," Migliore said. "On a grander scale if we're planting native species in our yards, we're using less water and fertilizer because they already know how to survive in the clay soil and that benefits the environment."

Besides being environmentally friendly, there are other benefits to residents who become certified. It increases curb appeal, restores habitats that have been damaged by construction and more animals will be attracted to the property, Migliore said.

"As we better our environment, the animals traveling through like birds are going to find our environment richer," Migliore said. "This also supports native plants in our landscaping. It fits into that whole picture of allowing people to see the city of Dublin as its own ecosystem."

The certification process will take two to three years to complete, Migliore said. Contact Migliore at (614) 410-4700, or go to the National Wildlife Federation's Web site at www.nwf.org.

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