How to Certify Your Community
Get Started toward Certifying your Community
To achieve certification through the National Wildlife Federation’s Community Wildlife Habitat program, you must meet two sets of goals.
First, a certain number of homes, schools and common areas must become NWF Certified Wildlife Habitats by providing the 4 basic elements that all wildlife need: food, water, cover and places to raise young. The NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat program also requires sustainable gardening practices such as using rain barrels, reducing water usage, removing invasive plants, using native plants and eliminating pesticides. These requirements are based on population and you can read more here.
Second, communities earn education and outreach points through a flexible checklist that includes educating citizens at community events, hosting a native plant sale, organizing a stream clean up, bringing new partners to the effort and hosting workshops.
The NWF Community Wildlife Habitat program allows communities to customize or emphasize local priorities. Some communities focus on water conservation measures by installing rain gardens to prevent storm water runoff. Others focus on creating wildlife corridors by connecting parks and riparian areas to new Certified Wildlife Habitats in the same area. Still others use the program to engage citizens around the importance of using drought-resistant native plants or reducing the use of pesticides and chemicals. Successful community efforts engage many local partners in their work.
NWF supports community teams to meet their goals and attain certification by providing:
- Monthly progress reports showing which properties have been certified in your community;
- Access to the online NWF Community Wildlife Habitat Resource Center which includes message boards, the ability to connect with other communities and other resources;
- Ability to join and present on bi-monthly conference calls where communities learn what other communities are doing;
- Free paper applications and paper tip sheets on key issues like pollinators, neighbor-friendly wildlife gardening, nesting boxes, bird feeders and more; and
- A 30% discount on merchandise from the NWF catalog for all participating volunteers
Every year certified NWF Community Wildlife Habitat teams continue to educate and engage their community and certify habitats by meeting modest annual re-certification goals.
Ready to Sign Up?
Interested, but want a consult? Tell us more about your community. A NWF staff member will contact you within 5 business days.
You may wish to download the application questions to prepare for submitting your application online.
How do they do it? Find other Certified or Registered Communities near you.