The habitat program

Natural habitats in home gardens

The habitat program

Sign identifies Sunset's editorial test garden in Menlo Park California as a certified wildlife habitat. Seed and nectar plants keep birds and butterflies happy here.

Thomas J. Story

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Established by the National Wildlife Federation in 1973, the Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program helps birds and other creatures who are losing their home turf to urban sprawl by encouraging the development of habitats in home gardens.

To date, NWF has certified more than 33,000 habitats, ranging from small urban balconies to thousand-acre plots. Most of the gardens are residential, but school campuses and workplace landscapes also can be wildlife habitats. Whole communities can get involved too.

In Alpine, California, so many residents and businesses created wildlife habitats that the NWF gave a certification to the entire community ― a first for the program.


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