Reston, VA – The National Wildlife Federation is honoring the nation’s most wildlife-friendly cities as part of its 81st annual National Wildlife Week and Austin, TX earned the number one spot on the list.
Wildlife in urban and suburban areas face tremendous stress as we chop down trees, plant yards, drain wetlands, install storm water systems, erect buildings and pave roads. Wildlife need our help to survive. In our “Top 10 Cities for Wildlife,” we recognize cities that are not only taking direct action to help wildlife, but their residents are also creating wildlife habitat in their backyards, balconies, at schools and throughout their communities.
The National Wildlife Federation’s Urban Wildlife Program ranked America’s 100 largest cities based on several important criteria for wildlife, including the amount of parkland within the city, participation in urban wildlife programs and citizen action measured by citizen participation in the National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Wildlife Habitat™ program. Certified Wildlife Habitats™ are properties that provide all the necessary elements for wildlife to survive – food, water, cover and places for wildlife to raise their young, while integrating sustainable gardening practices.
“Austin’s progressive values and beautiful natural environment make it the best city to live in for our people AND our wildlife, stated Austin Mayor, Steve Adler. “Proud to be named, for the second time in a row, the top city in America for wildlife by the National Wildlife Federation!”
The city of Austin currently has a total of 2,616 Certified Wildlife Habitats, more than any other city in the country, and 121 of those are Schoolyard Habitats. The city is a signatory of the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge and a national leader in its efforts to restore habitat and improve city landscapes for the declining monarch butterfly. Austin is also a certified Community Wildlife Habitat and the city promotes the creation and conservation of wildlife habitats through the Wildlife Austin program.
“Austin residents should be proud that their passion for wildlife has resulted in the creation of more Certified Wildlife Habitats than anywhere else in the country, explained Susan Kaderka, Executive Director, National Wildlife Federation South Central Regional Center. “These habitats form a network of connectivity that allows wildlife to truly be at home here. We hope other cities will replicate some of Austin’s actions so that every city in the country becomes a haven for wildlife.”
Learn more about the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife and Certified Wildlife Habitat programs at NWF.org/Garden, about the Community Wildlife Habitat program at NWF.org/Community, about the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge at NWF.org/MayorsMonarchPledge, and the Schoolyard Habitat program at NWF.org/Schoolyard and visit our Media Center at NWF.org/News.
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More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.