Does This Make Me a Park Ranger?

I would guess that about 90 percent of my yard is covered with cement, including the driveway, patios and a small pool/spa. I’m not particularly proud of this, but at least it didn’t stop me from certifying it as a national wildlife habitat today. I am very proud of that! 

It was surprisingly simple. You just need to provide four key elements that sustain a habitat for wildlife: food, water, cover and a place for critters to raise their young. And a $20 donation to the National Wildlife Federation. You can even get a nifty plaque! This crazy hedge of Melaleuca and New Zealand tea trees in front of our house counted as a great place for the “cover” category.  
My bird feeder and this simple bird bath helped meet the criteria for food and water.
 (You need several sources for each category. I also have a little bird bath fountain.)

This hummingbird feeder was my second food source.
And I even have proof that my plants–bamboo here–provide a place for animals to raise their young. (You only have to check that you have shrubs, not necessarily with nests.)
And this large Australian Silver Oak (a fabulous tree that produces the most nectar-packed, bird-beckoning, yellow blooms in spring) in our front yard was another great spot for raising the kids! You also need to commit to practicing sustainable gardening. It’s pretty easy, just lay off the Round-Up, spread a little mulch, introduce a few native plants to your garden, toss out some wildflower seeds, etc. I bet most of you are like me and already qualify!  

While I was documenting my new national Wildlife Habitat, I discovered this little mama in our Strawberry Tree. So now I think I’ve more than proven our commitment around here to offering a haven for wildlife. Seriously, I liked this process because it made me more conscious of how little it takes to support the birds and the bees, and everyone else–including ourselves!
Not to mention, as the proprietor of a Certified Wildlife Habitat, I can buy this official plaque. Included in my $20 donation, however, I also become a member of the National Wildlife Federation, and get a subscription to their magazine, National Wildlife.
 I might even be able to start charging people to visit my yard, or even sell year-long passes!

If you are feeling envious of me, 
and want to get your yard (or school, or church or community space, etc.) certified,

11 thoughts on “Does This Make Me a Park Ranger?

  1. Welcome to the club! I really like their idea of promoting and rewarding even small acts that can support nature. We don't all have to have Hortense Miller yards to contribute to a better world. I like the vigilant mama hummer in her nest, too.

  2. so cool! congrats on your new prestigious title. very impressive! will you be wearing khaki and a wide brimmed hat when you work in your yard now?

  3. WOW!!!! This is incredible! I ran across your comment / website on Diggin Food and thought I'd check out your site…I'm already in love. What great photos, and how wonderful that you have been able to certify your yard as a habitat for wildlife!

    I'm going to check it out – even though I live in NYC (Brooklyn), I just may qualify…bird feeders houses and baths a-plenty, shrubs, trees, plants…and a few feral cat shelters for spayed/neutered cats to boot.

    Can't wait to check out the rest of your site!

  4. Yeah, congratulations! I love the photo of the hummingbird in her nest…so sweet. I saw my first hummingbird of the season today!

  5. If I didn't have 4 cats I'd be able to supply a safe water source, and I think just about everything else is covered. Congratulations, Ranger!

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