RESTON, Va. — Leading a nationwide trend in which communities take action to support nature and wildlife, the National Headquarters of The Links, Incorporated (The Links) in Washington DC has been officially certified as the 250,000th National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat® in the nation. The Links is a global volunteer service organization with membership of more than 16,000 African American women in the United States and abroad.
“We are proud to be designated as a significant Certified Wildlife Habitat® garden that complements our LEED Gold-certified headquarters building,” said Dr. Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, national president of The Links. “I also am inspired by our 1,800 members who responded enthusiastically to my Earth Day 2020 call to action to create wildlife-friendly gardens at home while sheltering in place this spring. We are grateful to The Links’ National STEM Chair, Leslye Miller Fraser, and our WildSTEM Program lead and a National Wildlife Federation Board Member, Dr. Mamie Parker, for incorporating our Garden for Wildlife efforts within the LINKS-STEMREADY Signature Program. This program is integral to The Links’ considerable work across the nation and abroad both to address disproportional environmental impacts on our communities, and to educate and prepare our youth – particularly those in disadvantaged areas -- for careers in science, technology, engineering and math.”
“This milestone Certified Wildlife Habitat® at The Links, Incorporated headquarters honors the tremendous work The Links’ chapters, members and leadership do to transform landscapes at home, at schools and across communities to benefit people, as well as butterflies, birds and bees,” said Mary Phillips, senior director of Garden for Wildlife™. “The Links network is an inspiration and privilege to work with. Despite full time work, other demands and limitations of the pandemic, The Links’ volunteers persisted in creative, social distanced ways to bring the hope and empowerment of wildlife gardening to its members and black youth. The National Wildlife Federation is committed to sustaining a lasting and substantive relationship with The Links.”
Since 1946, The Links has been committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the cultural and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry in the communities where they serve, including youth centers, schools and homeless shelters. In 2018, the organization joined the National Wildlife Federation in the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, as a lead voluntary service organization’s promoting pollinator gardening. Ivy Taylor, former Mayor of San Antonio, Texas and a member of the San Antonio (TX) Chapter of The Links, has also been a crucial figure in the promotion of wildlife gardening, leading her city to become the first National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors Monarch Pledge Champion level city.
Certified Wildlife Habitat® is a signature program of National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife™ movement, helping people take personal action on behalf of wildlife since 1973. The program engages homeowners, businesses, schools, places of worship, parks and other institutions to create native plant gardens that incorporate elements of food, water, cover and places for wildlife to raise their young. The Links’ milestone Certified Wildlife Habitat® joins other prominent venues, like the 200,000th at the Denver Zoo and the 100,000th at the U.S. Botanic Garden. These projects’ visibility helps educate the public on the importance of plants, wildlife and people in the creation of sustainable landscapes that require little to no pesticides, fertilizers or excess watering. These landscapes help keep water and air resources clean. They are healthier for people and the environment, and are less resource-dependent than conventional landscapes. Habitat landscapes can serve to beautify our urban areas and give residents pride in their neighborhoods.
The Links, Incorporated’s members volunteer more than one million documented hours of community service annually, and the organization has contributed more than $25 million to charitable organizations, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the United Negro College Fund. Visit www.linksinc.org for more information.
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