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Frequently Asked Questions about NWF's Community Habitats Program

Frequently Asked Questions about Community Wildlife Habitat

Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions we receive about Community Wildlife Habitat.  If you have additional questions, please contact us and we will be glad to help you.

How does becoming a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat help wildlife? Today with urbanization and habitat loss or defragmentation, wildlife species (insects, birds, mammals and others) are faced with patches of good habitat for them.  Through the Community Wildlife Habitat program, communities can create wildlife corridors to provide connected habitat areas and provide more viable avenues for wildlife to thrive. Learn more

What does it mean to become certified? Community Wildlife Habitat Certification is a nationally recognized designation given by National Wildlife Federation for communities, neighborhoods or counties that 1) create wildlife habitats (link to Garden for wildlife requirements) on diversity properties that make us their community; 2) Education and engage their community member to learn about the importance of providing wildlife habitat to improve their environment and sustain wildlife populations. Learn more

How do I register to become a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat? Neighborhoods, hamlets, towns, cities and even counties can register to become a certified Community Wildlife Habitat.  There are 3 steps you need to complete.  1) Define your community; 2) Identify a community leader 3) complete online registration form. Learn more

What is involved in becoming a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat and what do I need to accomplish? To become a certified community, you need to achieve two sets of goals.  1) Communities need to certify (Link to Garden for wildlife) a variety of properties (homes, schools, businesses etc) as wildlife habitats with NWF.  The number of certified properties varies based on the population size of your community (link to benchmarks).  2) Communities need to also conduct activities and events in their community to raise awareness and engage community member in learning about local wildlife, improving their environment and changing policies to support a diverse wildlife-friendly community. Learn more

Is there a fee to participate? There is a $75.00 registration fee to participate in the program.  Payment support the resources and materials provided by NWF to support your work during the process of becoming a certified community and after.  This is a onetime fee.

How do I determine if my community is already registered or certified? National Wildlife Federation has registered and certified over 100 different communities across the United State.  Your can check to see if you community is registered  working on becoming certified  or is already certified and is in good standing.  If you don’t see your community, learn more about becoming a registered community.

What types of communities can become a certified Community Wildlife Habitat? Certified communities can range in size and population.  The smallest designation is a neighborhood with a population under 1,000 individuals.  Most communities are listed under the designation community.  These types of communities range in size from 1,000 populations to over 1 million.  The final designation is a County.  County are geographically defined by actual county boundaries and could be composed of neighborhoods or communities that are certified.  However, Counties has additional requirements to become certified.  Learn More

Can I (as an individual) register a community wildlife habitat project? An individual may registered a community project, however, you do need to have a team of volunteers or community members that can support the project.  The registering individual is generally know as the Team Leader and serves and the main point of contact with National Wildlife Federation and facilitates/manages the on-the-ground efforts.  You will need a min. of 5 volunteers to official registered with NWF.

Do I need approval from my governing officials to register my community? It is not necessary to have official approval from a governing body to register a community but working with your governing body is very helpful.  Whether it is a board or city/town departments or elected officials, having the support and backing of your community will assist you in meeting your goals for the program and also may provide additional resources and networks of volunteers or expertise to leverage during the project.  

Can I do this alone or do I need help from other community members or organizations?  Community Wildlife Habitat by its name is a program that represents the whole community, neighborhood or County.  To achieve certification takes significant time and effort.  We advise that your should having an organized team of individuals, organizations and partners to support the work.  This lessens the responsibilities from one person.  Celebrate your community by engaging your community.

Do I need to certify my whole city or town or can I do a neighborhood at a time?  The Community Wildlife Habitat program is very flexible.  You can start with a large entity like a town or city or you can start smaller with a neighborhood or section of a community.   With very large urban cities, we recommend starting smaller.  Working on certifying a neighborhood and then the next neighborhood until you have 4-10 connected sections of a larger city or urban area already certified.  Then you may wish to register the whole city and work on the additional areas.  Build on your success will always help you have more volunteers and raise the profile of your activities with your community members.

What does it mean to have certified wildlife properties? One of the primary goals of the program is to certify different types of properties as wildlife habitat under National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Wildlife Habitat program.  A certified property must contain four critical elements that are needed to support wildlife – providing food sources (natural and supplemental), water source, cover/shelter and places for wildlife to raise young. Each property which meets the qualifications completes an online application process ($20 fee per property) to become certified. Learn more

Don't see your question here?  Email community@nwf.org and we'll get back to you with an answer.

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