Matthews, North Carolina Celebrates Community Wildlife Habitat CertificationMatthews, North Carolina recently celebrated becoming the nation’s 64th NWF Community Wildlife Habitat with “A Day of Play” at Squirrel Lake Park. Despite the cold, drizzly weather, spirits were high as the community came together to acknowledge the work of the Matthews Naturally team that led the project. The team of volunteers came from the HAWK (Habitat and Wildlife Keepers) chapter of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, National Wildlife Federation’s state affiliate in North Carolina.
Fun and educational activities at the celebration included a tree walk, a bird walk, fishing in the lake, crafts, and the exciting release of a rehabilitated red tail hawk.Matthews is a community of 28,000 that is located 10 miles southeast of Charlotte. For three years, the Matthews Naturally team worked to educate residents about gardening for wildlife and sustainable gardening practices. At the time of certification, 175 homes, 10 schools, 8 local businesses and 6 parks had all become National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat sites.
Debbie Foster, one of the team leaders, said she was recently at a Matthews Women’s Club meeting. She told me about meeting:
“When I spoke about Matthews Naturally, the whole room burst into spontaneous applause. It was as if each person in the room really GOT what it is we do and why we do it. They appreciated it and they recognized the value of it. We all benefit from projects that protect our air, soil and water quality. We all benefit from protecting living creatures and providing and enhancing habitat for them. We all inhabit the same planet. The Community Wildlife Habitat project and certification contributes to those benefits by education and implementation of common goals. We are looking to the future!”