Houston, TX: 100th Community Wildlife Habitat™ Certified by the National Wildlife Federation
The fourth largest city in the country has certified as the largest ever Community Wildlife Habitat™ through the National Wildlife Federation, reaching 2.3 million people
HOUSTON, TX – Today, Houston, TX is celebrating its newly achieved status as the 100th community to certify through the National Wildlife Federation’s Community Wildlife Habitat™ program. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner recognized this accomplishment by proclaiming April 18, 2017, as Wildlife Habitat Day in the City of Houston during City Council. The city of Houston earned this certification by working systematically to help create wildlife habitat throughout the city by ensuring that nearly 1,000 yards, balconies, schools, parks and other properties provided the 4 elements that all wildlife need to thrive and survive - food, water, cover and places to raise young. In doing so the City of Houston helped create urban oases for migratory birds, monarch butterflies and other wildlife throughout the city.
The City also worked with volunteers to plant 2,500 native plants in public parks, maintained demonstration gardens at the City Hall Annex and Clinton Park, involved the master naturalists and the native plant society, spread the word at Earth Day Houston, Nature Fest and other events, and so much more. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has also taken the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge to help recover the declining monarch butterfly population.
“Everything is bigger in Texas. So it’s only fitting that America’s largest Community Wildlife Habitat is in the Lone Star State,” says National Wildlife Federation President and CEO, Collin O’Mara. “The City of Houston’s years of dedication to achieve this distinction will have lasting impacts for wildlife at a time when more than 1/3 of America’s wildlife species are at-risk. Solving America’s wildlife crisis will require engaged communities from sea to shining sea and it is inspiring to see thousands of Texans set a national example by showing how we can each protect wildlife in our own backyard. The National Wildlife Federation is proud to partner with Houston to show how each of us can take simple actions that make a big difference for the future of wildlife and future generations of Americans.”
“This Earth Month, we are proud of the work that our City and partners have taken to support the Monarch Butterfly population,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Supporting biodiversity supports the health and wellness for each one of us.”
This certification was achieved through both public and private efforts. In addition to the nearly 1,000 citizens’ homes, schools and common areas in Houston that have been certified as wildlife habitats, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) has identified 80 parks with 16,000 acres of land as having natural areas.
“We are thankful to all the partner conservation groups and citizens who have worked together to achieve this certification,” said Lisa Johnson, Interim Director, Houston Parks and Recreation Department. “Their efforts support our department’s commitment to the stewardship of our city’s greenspaces and the preservation of natural areas within our parks.”
The following partners worked with the City of Houston and the National Wildlife Federation to earn this certification for Houston: Houston Wilderness, Texas Master Naturalists, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Student Conservation Association, Houston Audubon, Native Plant Society of Houston, Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, Houston Parks Board, Hermann Park Conservancy, Houston Sierra Club, Bayou Preservation Association, Coastal Prairie Partnership, Katy Prairie Conservancy, Memorial Park Conservancy along with many others and all the citizens who have worked to create wildlife habitat in their backyard.
The NWF Community Wildlife Habitat program, started in 1997, is part of NWF’s Garden for Wildlife program, which, for more than 40 years has engaged homeowners, businesses, schools, universities, places of worship, parks, civic and community organizations and others in creating and certifying wildlife-friendly landscapes on their properties. The Community Wildlife Habitat program empowers citizen leaders to take action for wildlife throughout their communities - where people live, work, learn, play and worship. The program provides these leaders with a framework to restore wildlife habitat and educate and engage community members while working to attain NWF’s esteemed certification as a wildlife-friendly community.
Read more about how to certify your Community at www.nwf.org/community.