We’ve Always Been a City for the Birds

McElderry Park residents
McElderry Park residents plant a pollinator friendly garden. Photo by Kim Martinez
Baltimore.  Home of the beloved Baltimore Orioles and affectionately known by residents as Birdland.  There’s no better place for the National Wildlife Federation to launch its signature Community Wildlife Habitat program, encouraging residents to Grow Together. McElderry Park is one of five Baltimore neighborhoods where NWF is committed to greening up the streets, backyards, businesses and places of worship in a way that is wildlife friendly. It’s all about providing the five basic elements all wildlife need– food, water, places to raise young, shelter, and a healthy sustainable habitat.

Through the generous support of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, we’re helping to bring the “park” back to McElderry Park, teaming up to get the asphalt out and the trees and plants in.  Working with our partners Amazing Grace Lutheran Church, Baltimore Tree Trust, Banner NeighborhoodsBlue Water Baltimore, Maryland Institute College of Art, and Prince of Peace Baptist Church, we’ll not only green the neighborhood, but also do it in a way that helps prevent flooding and sewage overflows that plague the area and cause downstream pollution in the Inner Harbor and Chesapeake Bay.

Havens for Wildlife and Kids!

Child with plant
Kids could not wait to get their hands dirty. Photo by Kim Martinez
On the evening of July 7, more than 30 residents showed up to install approximately 350 native plants including turtlehead, dwarf crested iris, creeping phlox, little bluestem, Christmas fern, golden groundsel, blue-eyed grass, and Appalachian mint.

Toddlers and grandparents alike took part in digging holes, planting the native plants, and positioning the eastern redbud tree in the center of the garden. Neighbors came out to volunteer, offer support, and watch as the garden took shape over the course of the warm evening. For most of the kids, it was their first time touching a caterpillar, holding a slug, or seeing fireflies take over the garden after the sun set. McElderry Park is one of many places we are working to create a network of wildlife habitats.

In Baltimore alone, NWF is helping 600 residents provide the five basic elements of wildlife habitat while addressing polluted runoff issues. We are also helping clean up habitat for marine animals in our local waterways, Inner Harbor, and the Chesapeake Bay.

This is why NWF’s Maryland affiliate, the National Aquarium, has partnered with us to offer a special certification for local yards.

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For more information about NWF’s work in the Mid-Atlantic region, click here.

Certify Your Wildlife GardenHave the five essential elements for an NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat? Then certify today!

Your certified green space will also be counted in the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge.