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Certified Wildlife Habitats, unlike traditional lawn mono-cultures, are based on a foundation of native plant diversity and natural landscaping to provide the essential elements of habitat:
1. Food: Examples include using native plant and tree species that provide seeds, nuts, berries, nectar and pollen. Supplemental feeders are also valuable sources of food and provide additional viewing opportunities.
2. Water: A reliable water source is essential for wildlife to drink, and for some species, water is necessary for breeding and reproduction. Examples include an existing pond or stream, birdbath, ground-level water sources, puddling area, or observation ponds.
3. Cover and Places to Raise Young: Wildlife need cover; somewhere they can be protected from the weather, hide from predators and rest or hibernate. They also need a safe place to give birth and raise their young. Examples include groundcover plants, evergreens, thick shrubs, stacked rocks, wood or brush piles, and nest boxes.
4. Green Landscaping Practices: Traditional landscaping has focused on immaculate green, mono-culture lawns for many years. This type of landscape conversion has come at a great cost to the environment due to chemical and fertilizer run off, air pollution from mowing, and the over use of water. Examples of green landscaping practices include reducing chemical application, increasing native plants, decreasing lawn space, composting, mulching, and rain gardens.
To learn more, go to www.nwf.org/gardenforwildlife.