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 Washington, DC earned the number ten 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.
“Returning nature to our cities is not only good for wildlife, it’s good for people too,” said Washington D.C.’s Mayor, Muriel Bowser. “For DC to be named a top ten city for wildlife is a testament to our efforts and partnerships that restore, protect, and promote our city’s natural assets, which in turn provide healthy and enjoyable environments for our residents and the countless species that call the District home.”
Washington currently has a total of 278 Certified Wildlife Habitats, 38 of which are Schoolyard Habitats. Sustainability plans such as the Sustainable DC, the 2015 District of Columbia Wildlife Action Plan, and the Climate Ready DC work in the D.C. area with the goal to protect and restore wetlands, waterways, and aquatic ecosystems as well as providing parkland and/or natural spaces.
“DC residents already know DC is a wonderful place to live, but now we know it’s a great place for wildlife to live too,” explained Tommy Lawrence, Managing Director, Earth Conservation Corps. “We couldn’t be more proud to earn this recognition. DC residents care deeply about the wildlife we share this land with and it’s been great to see people come together to ensure our city remains a wonderful place for both people and wildlife for generations to come.”
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.