Fort Lauderdale, A Certified Wildlife-Friendly City

The city of Fort Lauderdale is known for its sandy beaches, the promenade along the A1A known as “The Strip”, and its miles of boating canals which have earned the city the nickname of the “Venice of America”.

Today, the city is bolstering its credentials as the National Wildlife Federation certifies the City of Fort Lauderdale as the 86th NWF Community Wildlife Habitat in the nation. 

FTL Team Photo with Banner - 4-30-16 - Patrick Fitzgerald

Fort Lauderdale Team. Photo by Patrick Fitzgerald

Two years ago, with the support of Mayor Jack Sieler and the City Commission, a team from the City’s Sustainability Office and Parks and Recreation Department set out to certify Fort Lauderdale. Thanks to the group’s hard work, there are now more than 400 Certified Wildlife Habitats within the city, and the team leading this project earned more “education and outreach” points than any other city of its size in the history of the program.

Some of the highlights from the city’s efforts include engaging homeowners’ associations through Fort Lauderdale’s Green Your Routine program, creating container habitats with young people in summer youth programs, certifying a habitat at City Hall, and so much more.

The city is marking this momentous occasion in an impressive fashion by hosting more than 30 simultaneous Arbor Day events across the city this weekend – cleaning up parks, removing invasive plant species that destroy habitat, and of course, planting trees.

One of the pollinators that benefits from the Snyder Park Butterfly Garden. Photo by Patrick Fitzgerald

This butterfly is one of the pollinators that benefits from the Snyder Park Butterfly Garden. Photo by Patrick Fitzgerald

At one event in Snyder Park, 200 middle and high school students participating in the Firewall Serve-A-Thon weeded, mulched and added plants to the butterfly garden, which is maintained by the Kids Ecology Corps. They also removed invasive air potato vine, repotted native tree seedlings and installed two screech owl boxes. For Arbor Day, we planted a large Gumbo Limbo tree, a Florida native that has many benefits for wildlife, such as providing clusters of small red berries and green flowers for many migratory and resident birds and other pollinators.

The Snyder Park Butterfly Garden is a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat and was part of the Community Foundation of Broward project to create 100 pollinator gardens in Broward County for the County’s Centennial last year. At the butterfly garden, we released lady bugs and native Florida butterflies to celebrate the fact that Fort Lauderdale is now the 86th certified Community Wildlife Habitat in the nation.

Releasing ladybugs. Photo by Patrick Fitzgerald

Releasing ladybugs. Photo by Patrick Fitzgerald

Congratulations again to the Mayor Jack Seiler, the City Commissioners, and the citizens of Fort Lauderdale for this tremendous accomplishment.

Certify NowIf you’re interested in certifying your city, town, county or neighborhood as a National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitat, visit www.nwf.org/community.

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