Defining your Community: County-wide project
County level certification represents the largest scale of Community Wildlife Habitat certification and involves working in coordination with the county government and cities and towns across the county. A county Wildlife Habitat is not defined by a certain population but by its designation as a county.
Previously certified Community or Neighborhood Wildlife Habitats can be included within a County Wildlife Habitat but the county will need to meet additional goals to achieve certification that reflect the engagement of the whole county in the project.
The additional goals can include additional certification benchmarks such as county buildings or additional certifications across other areas within the county. Also, additional engagement goals will be required.
Meet two of our county projects:
Broward County, FL
Broward County, the nation’s eighteenth largest County with a population of 1.7 million people, is located in Southeast Florida and is bordered by the Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean with endless opportunities for viewing and interacting with wildlife. While 2/3 of the County is located in Everglades, the remaining urban area is a diverse, vibrant, urban community with parks, beaches, and green space.
Gardening for wildlife, protecting natural areas, and improving the flyways for migratory wildlife are a priority with the County Commission, which formed the NatureScape Broward program in 2003 to encourage residents and businesses to create wildlife habitats. Broward County was certified as a Community Wildlife Habitat in 2005, and encourages its 31 municipalities to do the same. Successes include the re-establishment of the endangered Atala butterfly population, increased sea turtle nesting, and the first School District in the nation certified as a Schoolyard Habitat.
Perhaps the best example of achievement is the continued interest of residents to add native plants, protect water quality, and preserve our unique ecosystems for future generations.
Diana, Broward County NatureScape Leader and Community Wildlife Habitat Team Leader
Benton County, OR
Covering 679 square miles, Benton County is situated in the Willamette Valley of Northwestern Oregon. Bordered to the west by the heavily forested Oregon Coast Range, and to the east by the Willamette River, it includes many notable natural features, and with a population of 86,000 people, contains a large and very active contingent of environmental advocates.
The Backyard Wildlife Connections team, a group of local environmental and educational organizations, is co-sponsoring the effort to promote and facilitate the development and preservation of wildlife habitat in Benton County while meeting the criteria to become the first National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat Community in Oregon.
Backyard Wildlife Connections will be kicking off its campaign in January 2014, with the goal of achieving certification by May 2014. Through word of mouth and through the activities of the co-sponsor organizations, 3/5 of the points necessary for certification have been acquired. With a progressive and engaged community, Backyard Wildlife Connections Team sees no problem with meeting the goal of having Benton County become the first Certified Community Wildlife Habitat in Oregon!
Jeff, Community Wildlife Habitat Team Leader
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