County achieves certification as Community Wildlife Habitat

Fairfax County was recently certified as a National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitat.

03-22-2011 // Kali Schumitz

This excerpt is from a Fairfax Times article 

While the majority of county leaders' attention focuses on maintaining good quality of life for the county's human residents, one group is trying to ensure that Fairfax County also remains a good place for birds, butterflies and other wildlife.

Fairfax County was recently certified as a National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitat. It is the second-largest community by population in the country to achieve the certification. The largest is Broward County, Fla.

"The environmental benefits over the long haul, I think, will be significant," said Supervisor Penelope Gross (D-Mason), who was part of the certification team.

To achieve the certification, a combined total of 1,751 homes, schools, businesses, parks and churches throughout the county were certified as wildlife habitats. The county well exceeded the mark of 816 locations that it needed to qualify as a Community Wildlife Habitat. To be certified a property must native wildlife with food and water sources, cover and a place to raise young. Property owners must send photographs of their environmental benefits and fill out forms on the NWF's website in order to be certified by the federation. The program also encourages gardening in an environmentally friendly way, planting native species of plants and replacing lawns with trees, shrubs and other plants.

Gross' yard already had a large amount of trees that offer plenty of space for wildlife to raise their young, so she only had to purchase a bird feeder and birdbath to get her yard certified. Since making the changes, she said she is seeing more birds in her yard.

"We have varieties of birds that I never knew existed," Gross said. "I actually had to get my little bird book out to identify some of them."

Fairfax County ranks fourth in the country in the number of certified properties, said Roxanne Paul, senior coordinator for wildlife and community outreach with the National Wildlife Federation.

"It might not seem like it's a big difference when one person does this in their yard," she said. "When it's done throughout a community ... it makes a big difference."

Read more

Related Resources