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 Raleigh, NC earned the number nine 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.
“As one of the fastest growing cities in America, Raleigh places an emphasis on balancing growth with quality of life,” stated Nicole Stewart, Raleigh city councilwoman. “Inclusion on this list proves we are following our conservation objectives, to which we will always strive to do more, for our people and our wildlife.”
The city of Raleigh currently has a total of 558 Certified Wildlife Habitats, including 19 Schoolyard Habitats. Raleigh also has around 170 parks, making up roughly 11% of the municipality. 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.
“Raleigh has proved to be a great place to live for both people and wildlife alike,” explained Tim Gestwicki, Chief Executive Officer, North Carolina Wildlife Federation. “We are so excited that Raleigh has earned a spot on this coveted list and will be working hard to continue our efforts to ensure the city remains committed protecting 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.