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Certifying your property as wildlife habitation benefits both you and the planet

John and Vickie Fuller of Sagle, Idaho, decided to do something about global warming by listing their own piece of paradise as a Certified Wildlife Habitat. Their property attracts a variety of birds, butterflies, moose, and deer, while helping to protect the local environment.
“Everything I’ve planted around the place over the years has been to feed birds, bees and butterflies,” said Vicki. “The National Wildlife Habitat was having a drive to get 100,000 certified habitats this year. I wanted to jump on board and help out.”
NWF began the Wildlife Habitat certification program in 1973. The Fullers became the 99,357th Certified Wildlife Habitat nationwide. Certified habitats include post offices, schools, hospitals, places of worship, community parks, corporate buildings, municipal facilities and individual farms, houses and gardens. The average habitat is between one-third and one-half acre, but certified sites range from urban balconies to thousand-acre areas.
Creating habitats saves energy costs, helps wildlife and reduces global warming pollution. 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 trees and other native vegetation can insulate our homes from heat, cold and wind, reducing our heating and cooling needs. Wildlife-friendly native plants don’t need to be fed fertilizers or have to get hair cut from gas guzzling lawnmowers. Plants absorb carbon dioxide, reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. More informationrmation on how gardeners can reduce the effects of global warming can be found at www.nwf.org/gardenersguide.
To become certified, an area must provide food, water, cover and shelter to raise young, and must employ sustainable gardening practices. Habitat restoration is needed in urban and rural settings where commercial and residential development encroaches on natural wildlife areas. Certified wildlife areas conserve our natural resources by reducing or eliminating the need for fertilizers, pesticides, and/or irrigation water.
“It’s easy to be certified,” Fuller said. “It’s nice to be recognized for our efforts and be part of a good, positive thing.”
Certified participants receive membership in the National Wildlife Federation, including a one-year subscription to the National Wildlife magazine, a personalized certificate and quarterly newsletters, and are eligible to post NWF’s special outdoor sign designating their yard or garden as wildlife friendly.
For more information on how to certify your yard or garden call 1-800-822-9919, email [email protected], or go to: www.nwf.org/backyard/.

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Desire Aguirre Desire Aguirre lives in Sandpoint with her daughter, DaNae, and numerous pets. An LCSC student, she plans on graduating May, 2009, with a bachelors in communication. Her favorite sport is riding her horse, Splash-of-Paint, into the wilderness with Cholo, her son's faithful dog.

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