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Siler City Elementary recognized as a certified wildlife habitat site

Posted Monday, March 14, 2011

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Siler City, NC - The National Wildlife Federation® (NWF) announces that the property of Siler City Elementary School in Siler City is now recognized as an official Certified Wildlife Habitat™ site. The property attracts a variety of birds, butterflies and other wildlife, while helping to protect the local environment. With the help of NWF, many habitat enthusiasts have turned their yards and other garden spaces into enticing wildlife refuges.

The school has a Junior Master Garden Club and the entire fourth grade as part of the NWF certification as part of its habitat studies.

NWF began the Wildlife Habitat certification program in 1973, and has since certified over 126,000 habitats nationwide. The majority of these sites represent the hard work and commitment of individuals and families providing habitat near their homes, but NWF has also certified more than 3000 schools and hundreds of business and community sites. Certified habitats can be found everywhere from post offices, hospitals and places of worship to community parks, corporate buildings and municipal facilities. The average habitat is between 1/3 and 1/2 acre, but certified sites range from urban balconies to thousand-acre areas.

Any habitat enthusiast can create a certified habitat and learn the rewards of gardening for wildlife. NWF teaches the importance of environmental stewardship by providing guidelines for making landscapes more hospitable to wildlife. In order to become certified, a property must provide the four basic elements that all wildlife need: food, water, cover and places to raise young; and must employ sustainable gardening practices. Habitat restoration is critical in urban and suburban settings where commercial and residential development encroaches on natural wildlife areas, limiting the availability of resources wildlife need to survive and thrive. In addition to providing for wildlife, certified habitats conserve our natural resources by reducing or eliminating the need for fertilizers, pesticides, and/or irrigation water, which ultimately protects the air, soil and water throughout our communities. More information about gardening for wildlife is available at or by calling 1-800-822-9919.

Creating habitats not only helps wildlife, it can help reduce global warming pollution and save energy costs as well. Burning fossil fuels to heat and cool our homes and maintain our lawns releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. Replacing lawns with strategically located trees and other native vegetation can insulate our homes from heat, cold and wind, reducing our heating and cooling needs and thus our carbon dioxide emissions. Unlike lawns, wildlife-friendly native plants don’t need constant maintenance from gas guzzling lawn mowers or fertilizers that require fossil fuels to manufacture. An additional benefit is that plants actually absorb carbon dioxide, helping to further reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. All of this adds up to increased areas available for wildlife habitats, reductions in levels of carbon dioxide that cause global warming, and reduced energy costs. More information about how gardeners can reduce the effects of global warming can be found at

Habitats can produce other financial rewards for homeowners. Realtors may promote the certified status of homes for sale as an added selling feature. A beautiful, living landscape is an attractive element to many potential home buyers looking to share their homes with Mother Nature. Potential home buyers who are attracted to a house with a certified habitat are also more likely to maintain the habitat once they take ownership.
NWF has received numerous testimonials from program participants who find their efforts rewarding and fun for the whole family. As one participant wrote, “I am a beginner, but judging from the many birds, squirrels, butterflies, and rabbits, along with the flowers blooming everywhere in my yard, I must be on the right track.” David Mizejewski, NWF Naturalist and host of the Animal Planet series “Backyard Habitat,” says, “It’s easy to feel that there is no hope for wildlife in our modern world of smog, traffic and asphalt. But there is hope. Each of us can make our own piece of the Earth a healthy, green space that helps restore the ecological balance. Encouraging your neighbors to join with you can lead to a neighborhood or community habitat that provides wildlife with greater incentive to call your piece of the earth home.”

Participants who achieve certification receive membership in the National Wildlife Federation, including a one-year subscription to the award-winning National Wildlife magazine with inspiring wildlife articles and amazing nature photography. They also receive a personalized certificate and quarterly e-newsletters, and are eligible to purchase NWF’s special outdoor sign designating their yard or garden as wildlife-friendly. Most states also host a NWF Affiliate office, which may offer additional resources and information about your state’s wildlife and joint habitat certification programs. A guide to our Affiliates can be found at:

NWF currently offers the most comprehensive guide to date on gardening for wildlife, authored by Mizejewski. The 128-page Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife won the Independent Book Publishers Association 2005 award for Best Gardening/Agriculture Book of the Year. It is full of practical, how-to information to make your yard a wildlife haven and certify your property as an official NWF Wildlife Habitat site. The book costs $12.95 and is available at .

The mission of the National Wildlife Federation is to inspire Americans
to protect wildlife for our children’s future.

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Siler City Elementary recognized as a certified wildlife habitat site
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