To encourage and reward the creation of wildlife-friendly landscapes, several organizations offer certification programs. If you're already created a habitat, filling out the applications may give you a perspective on just how much you've accomplished. If you're still in the planning stages, or aren't sure what to do, reading over the applications may help you formulate a plan.
Florida Backyard Landscapes for Wildlife
Florida Yards and Neighborhoods
The certification (and yard sign) offered by the Florida Backyard Landscapes for Wildlife
program is free. The only requirement is that you have 10 square yards that you rent or own and that can be landscaped for wildlife. You can print out the questionnaire they have online or request that one be mailed to you. They are interested in not only what you have now, but what you have planned. Don't worry if you feel you aren't ready to apply, they will offer you tips on how to improve your habitat. It's a joint effort of the Florida Wildlife Extension at the University of Florida and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
National Wildlife Federation
The Florida Yards and Neighborhoods
program offers certification using a point system that awards points for wildlife- and eco-friendly landscaping and practices, such as the efficient use of water, mulching, and protecting seawalls. Completed applications are mailed to county offices, which are linked from the FYN website.
To apply for NWF Backyard Wildlife Habitat Certification
submit an application online or via mail with a $15 processing fee. Yard signs are available for $20 each. There is no minimum size, even small balconies are eligible. The NWF has a gallery
of certified habitats in Florida.
The NWF also offers certification of schoolyards and community areas. Community areas are certified when they accummulate a certain amount of points based on their population. The certification of home habitats adds to the community's total points. Check NWF: Community Wildlife Sites
to see if your community is certified or registered (ie, working on it). At present, the following Florida communities are registered:
- Coconut Creek in Broward County
- The City of Coconut Creek
features a habitat of the month, habitat resources, and announcements of related community events.
- NWF profile
- Hillsboro Pines in Broward County
- NWF profile
- Winter Haven in Polk County
- NWF profile
- Wilton Manors in Broward County
- The City of Wilton Manors offers information on their progress and resources.
Please send me feedback
if you are aware of other certification programs, you have information about your certified backyard habitat (congrats!) on the web, or your community is working on community certification. I'll gladly include the information here.
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