About NWF's Landscaping Professionals Training Course

Part of the process for becoming a Certified Wildlife Landscaping Professional is that applicants must successfully complete an 18-20 hour* training course. 

Course Structure

The training course is divided into seven parts to test and evaluate knowledge and understanding of core concepts of wildlife and ecologically friendly landscaping.

Deadlines and Grading

Applicants will have one year to complete the course work and six tries to complete the testing and evaluation of the courses. They must receive an 80% or higher achievement score to be considered for accreditation by National Wildlife Federation.

If applicants are not successful in completing the coursework, they can re-register after six months to become a Certified Wildlife Landscaping Professional with National Wildlife Federation. Additional payment will be required to re-register.

Class Descriptions

Background on National Wildlife Federation and our Garden for Wildlife programs

  • Background on National Wildlife Federation: 
    (30 minutes)
    Introduction to National Wildlife Federation through a quick history of the organization, our mission and our key programs.
  • Background and Philosophy for NWF’s Garden for Wildlife Program:
    (45 minutes)
    Highlight of National Wildlife Federation’s 40 year old Garden for Wildlife program and its sister programs, Schoolyard Habitats and Community Wildlife Habitat. Course will focus on NWF’s goal for creating wildlife friendly backyards, business and school to help protect wildlife for future generations. The course will also highlight the steps by which an individual must demonstrate to become certified.

Creating a Wildlife-Friendly Landscape

Each section that follows will include knowledge tests.

  • Ecology of Wildlife Friendly Gardening:
    (2 hour)
    Top level highlight of core concepts related to ecosystems and interplay of wildlife and humans within the ecosystem.
  • Soils:
    (1 hour)
    Review of core soil ecology concepts including micro-organisms.
  • Plants (Native, Invasive, Exotic):
    (1 hour)
    Focus on the role of plants, plant communities and use of native species in attracting and providing sustainable food sources for wildlife. 
  • Water:
    (1 hour)
    Role of water as a critical element for wildlife, addressing water issues within designs for landscapes and sustainable practices.
  • Wildlife Species:
    (2 hour)
    (Insects, Pollinators, Amphibians/Reptiles, Mammals, Birds) view of the wildlife in communities, their tie to specific plants or plant communities, human impacts and best practices for sustain wildlife. This section will also include an additional module (1 hour) on wildlife that can be classified by general public as unwanted or nuisance.
  • Natural Landscaping:
    (1 hour)
    Building and design of for a wildlife-friendly landscape, including topography, usage by both wildlife and humans, natural design concepts, overview of weed ordinance implications.
  • Sustainable Landscaping Practices:
    (1 hour)
    Highlight of best landscaping practices which assist in sustaining a balanced eco-system and wildlife protection.
  • Final Essay and Test

* Based on prior knowledge, course work could take as little as 6-10 hours to complete Advanced Courses will be available for participating professionals starting in 2014.

Questions? Email landscapers@nwf.org.