Takoma Park Crosses Finish Line in Race to Become
With assistance from the Friends of Sligo Creek and the Takoma Horticulture Club, the City of Takoma Park has met the requirements of the National Wildlife Federation's ® certification for a Community Wildlife Habitat ™. The requirements are straight-forward and can be found at www.nwf.org/gardenforwildlife. The NWF has certified 50 communities in 20 states. Takoma Park is the first certified in Maryland, but Rockville and Bowie are working on their certification.
On May 22, 2011, an enthusiastic throng gathered at Spring Park in Takoma Park to see the presentation of a certificate from the National Wildlife Federation to Mayor Bruce Williams honoring the City as a Community Wildlife Habitat. The surrounding festivities included music by voice and baritone saxophone, a poem read by the City Poet Laureate, Anne Becker, spreading of magic mulch on three young possum-haw shrubs; and necessary short speeches by Roxanne Paul of the National Wildlife Federation, and by former Friends' president, Bruce Sidwell. Refreshments provided by the Friends of Sligo included a really beautiful butterfly encrusted cake and Sarah's World Famous Garlic Mustard Pesto.
Back in 1973, the National Wildlife Federation began a Backyard Wildlife Habitat certification program. They realized that many native species would have a better chance of surviving if suburban and urban yards were more wildlife-friendly. There are now more than 128,000 yards, schools, businesses, places of worship, parks, and other sites certified across the country. The qualities that make a yard attractive to birds, butterflies, and other welcome native wildlife are:
The NWF program expanded the habitat concept to community certification at the beginning of this decade. At this level, a community of habitats can provide a broader safety net. And also, the human community can enjoy and better understand local wildlife. To meet the standard for Community Wildlife Habitat, a city the size of Takoma Park needs a minimum of 4 schools, 4 other public spaces, and 150 backyards to be certified. We now have the schools and public spaces, but we are short on yards. By the way, one particularly nice example of the City-sponsored park sites is the Spring Park at the intersection of Elm and Poplar. A nice selection of native shrubs and a River Birch were paid for from a grant from the Takoma Foundation (see photo).
With your application, the NWF asks for $20 to defray the costs of their program. However, in return, you'll receive the satisfaction of being better equipped to help our beleagered wildlife. You'll also receive a certificate, a quarterly e-newsletter with tips, and a one-year subscription to National Wildlife.
Common Questions About the Program (There is considerable advice to be found at the NWF website, but here are a few frequently heard questions we've heard):