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 Charlotte, NC earned the number eight 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.
"Even with tremendous urban growth, we will continue to honor our commitment to the wildlife that shares our ecosystem,” said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. “Thank you for validating our important work by recognizing Charlotte as a top wildlife city.”
The City of Charlotte currently has 1,141 Certified Wildlife Habitats, 45 of which are Schoolyard Habitats. Charlotte is a signatory of the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge, with 11 action items committed to protect monarch butterflies, and is also certified as a Community Wildlife Habitat. The North Carolina Wildlife Federation provides programs such as The Butterfly Highway, an initiative that aims to restore native pollinator habitats to areas impacted by urbanization.
“From protecting pollinators to increasing green spaces, Charlotte residents have shown true commitment to protecting wildlife,” explained Tim Gestwicki, Chief Executive Officer, North Carolina Wildlife Federation. “Building a culture that values practical solutions to build and strengthen coexistence with urban wildlife will be the key to ensuring that species continue to thrive in Charlotte and beyond.”
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.