With the recent announcement of the partnership of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and ScottsMiracle-Gro came a lot of disappointment among supporters, many became so upset they have returned their NWF backyard wildlife habitat signs which certify their backyards as wildlife habitats and meeting the requirements of the NWF.
In response to that disappointment I’ve created a list of alternative options to the NWF certified backyard wildlife habitats that I know of that provide similar involvement from supporters who care deeply about the preservation of their communities and backyard wildlife sanctuary’s. Folks still want to remain a part of an organization of others who are fulfilling their purpose of making sure there is adequate food, water, shelter and space for their local wildlife.
Organizations to Certify Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat
North American Butterfly Association: Butterfly and Habitat Certification Program
The NABA has an exhaustive resource area for butterfly gardeners, including garden ideas, host plant lists, suggested plants, and regional gardening guides. Their certification application can be done online or by their printable application to mail in (PDF).
To join NABA Butterfly Garden Certification Program you need to create or modify your existing garden to meet the following requirements:
- At least three different native caterpillar food plants must be grown, preferably more than one plant of each selected species
- At least three different native butterfly nectar sources must be grown, preferably more than one plant of each selected species
- The use of pesticides is discouraged. Pesticides can kill butterflies as well as other important pollinators.
Canadian Wildlife Federation: Wild About Gardening Certification
This certification is similar to that of the National Wildlife Federation. The Canadian Wildlife Federation is a charitable organization that works with Canadians to make a difference to the kind of legacy we leave behind; not just for wildlife, but also for our children. At this moment (Feb. 3, 2012) they are working on their website, I’m sure this is in response to the disappointed masses, so be sure to visit their site at a later date if the links aren’t working properly.
Monarch (butterfly) Waystation Certification Program
This is a terrific way to create stopover spots for Monarch butterflies during their amazing migration and for breeding new generations. Learn more about creating a Monarch Waystation (PDF).
You can certify your new or existing monarch habitat to show that you are contributing to monarch conservation. Upon certification your site will be included in the International Monarch Waystation Registry, an online listing of Monarch Waystations, and you will be awarded a certificate bearing your name and your site’s unique Monarch Waystation ID number.
4 Steps the Monarch Waystation registration and certification process:
- Create a Monarch Habitat:To create a habitat for monarchs, you need to provide milkweeds for the larvae, nectar plants for the adults, and sufficient vegetation to provide shelter for the larvae, pupae and adults.The Monarch Waystation Seed Kit is designed to enable you to create a habitat suitable for monarchs, within the context of a traditional garden.Applying for certification can be done from scratch by purchasing a Monarch Waystation Seed Kit or obtaining seeds suitable for Monarchs at your chosen source. Existing habitats that meet the criteria for a Monarch Waystation (or that can be easily modified to meet them) may also be registered and certified as Official Monarch Waystations.
- Confirm that Monarch Waystation criteria are met and complete the Certification Application: Requirements are included with the certification application materials.
- Receive Your Certificate: You will receive a certificate with your (or your organization’s) name and unique Monarch Waystation ID for your site.
- After Being Certified: You will be able to order ($17) a 9″ x 12″ weatherproof sign for display and other support materials. You will also be able to submit photos of your Monarch Waystation to be included in the online Registry.
Remember to encourage others to create their own butterfly and wildlife habitats!
A Step Beyond: Home-study Wildlife Course
If you love to feed, photograph, or just observe wildlife, this computer-based e-learning course may interest you!
After introducing WindStar’s highly acclaimed Wildlife Habitat Naturalist pilot program in Maryland in the Spring of 1997, the Institute began receiving numerous inquiries from people all across the country who wanted to know when the program was coming to their state.
To satisfy the need, the staff came up with the idea of an Internet home-study course called the WindStar Certified Wildlife Habitat Naturalist, which is a prerequisite to the recent, advanced WindStar Certified National Master Naturalist Program to become certified at a professional level.
WindStar’s Wildlife Habitat Naturalist Internet e-Learning Course will help you learn how to better manage wildlife on your property, plus develop a sense of stewardship toward wildlife and a land conservation ethic.
This course can benefit: nature center staff, home schoolers, builders, developers, property owners, landscapers, scout leaders, wild bird store owners, and anyone who wants to further their appreciation of the natural world and provide more benefit to their local communities.
Native Plant Landscaper, Gardener, Labyrinth Design, Feng Shui Practitioner, Aromatherapy / Essential Oils, Big Fan of Nature and Living Simply.
"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly."
~ R. Buckminster Fuller