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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Certifiable Gardens

Among First Parish families, the Tunewicz-Gavin and Hayes-Bohanan households are among the 150,000 habitats certified by the National Wildlife Federation to date. The program is open to any household, school, business, or place of worship that meets the simple criteria for fostering biodiversity close to home. (It is not necessary to have a hyphenated name!)

Visit the Garden for Wildlife site to learn how to get certified, or ask those who have already participated. The process includes a lot of ideas for improving the attractiveness of your lawn and garden for birds, pollinating insects, and other wildlife. The amount of space can range from a patio to multiple acres. Our (the Hayes-Bohanans') plot is one-third of an acre and has seen an incredible increase in biodiversity in ten years of modest effort -- most of the increase in the first 2-3 years. While in Texas, we had similar results in just a couple of years with a fenced yard measuring no more than 200 square feet.

For those whose properties already meet the criteria, some additional improvements might result from reading the NWF materials. Even if nothing is changed, the certification -- which does entail a small fee that supports other NWF projects -- is a great conversation-starter for neighborhoods.

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