Frequently Asked Questions about NWF's Community Habitats Program
Can my neighborhood become certified as a Community Wildlife Habitat?
Yes. The Community Wildlife Habitat Program is designed to be flexible, so that communities as small as a homeowners association and as large as a county can be certified. Most homeowners associations fall into the smallest population category of under 1,000 residents.
There is no school in my community. How can we meet the schoolyard certification requirements?
If possible, we would like to see you try to certify a school that the children within the community attend, even if it is outside the community's boundaries. If this is impractical, please consult with your NWF Community Wildlife Habitat contact.
How should we identify our community boundaries?
You can identify your boundaries by zip code(s), town name(s) or county. You also need to keep in mind what demographic information is available, since you will need those population numbers in order to determine how many points you need to accrue for certification.
I am a developer and would like to design a new community that will be a Community Wildlife Habitat. How can I do this?
The Community Wildlife Habitat Program was not designed to be a recognition program for developers. It was designed to be a community-building program led by the residents of a community, often with the support of their local officials. The certification process takes an average of two years and once certification is achieved, there are annual goals that need to be met for the certification to be considered active. For this reason, we will not accept applications submitted by a developer.
How many certified sites must we have in our community to complete the certification requirements?
In order to achieve certification, a community needs to earn a certain number of points in five categories: Registration (fulfilled by completing the registration packet), Habitat Certification, Education, Community Projects and Administration. We have provided many types of activities so communities can create an individualized plan that is best for them.
To learn more about this points-based system, review the certification points tables.
What is the project notebook?
The project notebook is a binder or scrapbook where the Community Wildlife Habitat team keeps documentation of the various projects. Examples of items to include in the project notebook are clippings from newspaper or magazine articles about the project, the kick-off event flyer, workshop or presentation flyers and photos from community events When a community is ready to be certified the team leader can print the goals matrix and put it in the notebook (along with accompanying documentation when appropriate) to show which points you have accumulated. You can also create an electronic notebook and email it to the NWF program coordinator.
What will we need to budget for?
You should budget for printing costs of flyers, brochures about your project, native plant lists, etc. You may need to budget for supplies required when holding workshops (besides the brochures and tip sheets that NWF can supply). You should also budget for your certification ceremony including food, paper goods, etc. If you would like a NWF representative to come from headquarters you will need to budget for their trip. It may be possible, however, for someone from our field offices or state affiliates to attend at no cost to your community.
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