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 Indianapolis, IN earned the number four 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.
“The City of Indianapolis is proud to work with numerous community partners on making our city a vibrant community both for residents and wildlife,” explained Mayor Joe Hogsett, City of Indianapolis. “Our work with the Indiana Wildlife Federation has strengthened Thrive Indianapolis, our major sustainability and resilience planning initiative, by helping to identify the best practices for developing a wildlife-friendly, world-class city.”
The city of Indianapolis has moved up from the number eight spot in 2015 to number four this year due in large part to their number of Certified Wildlife Habitats. Indianapolis currently has 1,101 Certified Wildlife Habitats, including 71 Schoolyard Habitats. The city is a signatory of the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge having committed to 10 actions to the date to protect monarch butterflies. The city’s Comprehensive Master Plan has the goal of expanding parkland through the city and creating trails for the community and healthy habitats for urban wildlife.
“We are so excited to have earned a spot on this list,” explained Emily Wood, Executive Director, Indiana Wildlife Federation. “IWF has found in Indy an impressive number of partners that were seeking paths towards a sustainable community. We are building a stronger city by connecting people to our resources for creating urban habitat, supporting pollinators, reducing invasive species, and restoring locations that provide access to nature.”
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.