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City Views

City Views presents commentary from staff on the latest projects, initiatives, and successes.

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Sep 17

City Certified as Community Wildlife Habitat

Posted on September 17, 2015 at 3:15 PM by OCOM Specialist

By Sandy Tarpinian, Healthy Habitat Project team member

Congratulations – the City was just named Certified Community Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation! (Read the official news release here.)

Reaching this goal has been a true community effort, drawing on the work of the Healthy Habitat Project, sponsored by the Environmental Services Council and is endorsed by the City Council (Resolution 2005-28).

The project was initiated in 2005 and includes several City departments—Public Works, Recreation and Parks, and the Mary Riley Styles Public Library—as well as community organizations like the Village Preservation and Improvement Society (VPIS), citizen volunteers, and individual homeowners. Some of the combined efforts that helped the City reach its goals include:
  • 139 homeowners certified their backyards as wildlife habitats with the NWF (
  • Mary Riley Styles Library sponsored educational events and displays promoting the project.
  • City staff regularly promoted the project through the City website and environmental publications.
  • The City built five rain gardens and has done continual restoration of many of the city parks so they could be certified as wildlife habitats.
  • Individual citizens have organized invasive plant pulls, composting workshops, and educational workshops in conjunction with City staff.
  • The City Communications Department has provided ongoing press releases and communication through the list serve to promote events related to the certification goals.
The project’s overall goal is to conserve, protect and restore an ecologically balanced habitat in our urban environment. The project team envisioned a habitat that is healthy for both humans and wildlife, and that promotes clean water, clean air, and environmentally-friendly land management.

Individual homeowners are encourage to certify their backyards if they have not yet participated. To qualify for certification, a property needs to provide the four basic elements that support beneficial local wildlife: food, water, cover, and places to raise young; in addition, you should employ at least some sustainable gardening practices, such as mulching, composting, or elimination of chemical yard products.

To learn more about the requirements and to certify online or by mail, go to (please note that there is a $20 fee to apply for certification). Paper applications are also available at Mary Riley Styles Public Library.