Working for Wildlife: National Wildlife Federation Teams up with Taylor Morrison

To address the ongoing wildlife crisis, where 1 in 3 U.S. species are in decline, business leaders are joining the movement to protect wildlife habitat. Starting this month, the National Wildlife Federation and Taylor Morrison, a leading homebuilder and developer, are teaming up to restore and protect wildlife habitat in the homebuilder’s communities nationwide. Taylor Morrison currently owns or controls more than 8,000 acres of dedicated open space with high biological diversity value. This partnership aims to engage Taylor Morrison staff, residents, and the public in accessible and effective wildlife habitat restoration efforts.

Key initiatives of the partnership include:

  • Helping current and future community parks and open space in Taylor Morrison communities meet National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Wildlife Habitat® standards through our long-standing Garden for Wildlife program.
  • Creating wildlife-friendly Habitat Management Plans for homeowners’ associations that provide standards and guidance to ensure successful long-term stewardship.
  • Supporting monarch butterfly recovery efforts by taking the Monarch Pledge to plant native milkweed and provide the necessary elements for butterfly gardens in model home parks and amenities nationwide.
  • Collaborating with Taylor Morrison to design and build National Wildlife Federation’s Early Childhood Health Outdoors (ECHO) nature playscapes in select communities in lieu of traditional playground equipment.
A pond that is part of a Certified Wildlife Habitat on a Taylor Morrison property. Credit: Archer Yates.

The partnership will promote the protection of native plants, wildlife and pollinators that are vital to ecosystems to Taylor Morrison’s coast-to-coast footprint across nine states and more than 55,000 future households. “The National Wildlife Federation is an iconic leader in wildlife habitat conservation,” said Taylor Morrison chairman and CEO, Sheryl Palmer. “They understand that to make a difference, we all must do our part to conserve natural resources for future generations. We believe that by protecting and highlighting the natural features that are unique to our communities, we can inspire residents and team members to be active wildlife advocates.”

This Earth Day, to kick off the partnership, Skyestone, a Taylor Morrison community near Denver Colorado, is celebrating with their first Wildlife Habitat certification. The Skyestone Community includes a pond and wetland areas that are inviting to community residents and wildlife alike. The natural water features are home to a variety of native waterfowl, wading birds, and amphibians. The large Cottonwood trees on the property act as nesting sites for song birds and owls, while also providing cover for small mammals. The Skyestone community provides food, water, cover, and a place to raise young for many native wildlife species, giving it all the elements it needs to be an exemplary Certified Wildlife Habitat.

Trees and brush that are part of a Certified Wildlife Habitat on a Taylor Morrison property. Credit: Archer Yates.

“The area had been used for cattle grazing in the past, so we had some restoration to do,” explained Phillip Cross, Vice President of Land, Denver Division, for Taylor Morrison. “Ultimately the ecosystem in and around the pond began to find its own balance again, and today the pond is a not only a focal point, it provides a hobby for some residents. They sit and watch wildlife, and many are amateur photographers who spend hours out there – rain or shine — just waiting for the perfect shot.”

In Naples, Florida, the Taylor Morrison Esplanade Community is transforming a large common area into a butterfly garden by planting more than 300 native trees, shrubs and plants to benefit a variety of pollinators. The community is taking special care to remove non-native milkweed and plant native milkweed, a host plant for migrating Monarch butterflies.

While milkweed benefits queen and soldier butterflies, it’s essential for recovering monarch butterflies. Female monarchs lay their eggs only on the leaves, stems, and flowers of native milkweed and it is the only plant their caterpillars eat. Florida is a stop for many monarchs before they fly over the Gulf Coast to Mexico. The woody plants located near the nectar and host plants will provide many species of butterflies with shelter at night and during bad weather. To complete their Certified Wildlife Habitat®, their garden will include puddling areas with wet sand or soil in their garden since butterflies are unable to drink from open water.

This is just the beginning. As this partnership develops more land will be dedicated to protecting wildlife for future generations, while giving people access to natural spaces and the wonders of wildlife. To learn how you can Garden for Wildlife where you live:

Sign up for the Garden for Wildlife newsletter for tips on planning your wildlife habitat garden.


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Published: April 17, 2019