What Does it Take to Become a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat Like Takoma Park, Maryland?

“A Community Wildlife Habitat is a community that provides habitat for wildlife throughout the community–in individual backyards, on school grounds and in public areas such as parks, community gardens, places of worship and businesses.” National Wildlife Federation

It Takes Commitment

Monarch butterfly
Monarch butterfly in flight

It takes a committed team, broad community participation, patience and persistence. The National Wildlife Federation requires community points in 5 areas:

  • Registration
  • Habitat Certification
  • Education
  • Community Projects
  • Administrative

The program allows for individual community flexibility and allows the community to create a unique plan and their own timeline for completion.

“It is a place where the residents make it a priority to provide habitat for wildlife by providing the four basic elements that all wildlife need: food, water, cover and places to raise young,” says the National Wildlife Federation website. “The community also educates its residents about sustainable gardening practices such as reducing or eliminating chemical fertilizers and pesticides, conserving water, planting native plants, removing invasive plants and composting.”

It Takes a Village

Takoma Park, a community of 17,000, recently became to first community in Maryland to achieve Community Wildlife Habitat certification and became the 50th certified community in the nation. Wild, Wild Takoma became a registered project in 2007 and was led by the non-profit Friends of Sligo Creek.

Through various community activities including the annual Arbor Day celebration, creek clean-ups, annual native and plant seed exchanges and invasive plant removal projects, Takoma Park was able educate and encourage community members to certify 150 homes, 4 parks, a church and 5 schools. In addition, rain gardens were added to 3 different public areas.

It Takes a Leader

Habitat Team Leader, Bruce Sidwell, helped to champion Wild, Wild Takoma. Through his persistence working with community leaders and members, Tacoma Park has become a place for people and wildlife to enjoy, and has become Maryland’s first National Wildlife Federation Certified Community Wildlife Habitat!

“Takoma Park appreciates the persistence of Bruce Sidwell. City Gardener Mike Welsh was happy to provide the four public sites to be counted towards the requirement.  The goals of our City garden programs mesh well with the National Wildlife Federation’s focus on use of native plants and providing habitats.”  Takoma Park Director of Public Works, Daryl Braithwaite

It Takes Passion

The Community Habitat Team, community leaders, and citizens of Takoma Park were passionate about Wild, Wild Takoma, a passion that sustained them through the entire process.

If you have a passion for gardening or creating habitats which attract birds, butterflies, and other wildlife, you may be interested in certifying your community! National Wildlife Federation can help you through the Community Wildlife Habitat certification process.