Backyard Habitat

Creating a Community Wildlife Habitat

Learn about the Cape Island Community Wildlife Habitat Project in New Jersey

A Community Wildlife Habitat is a community that provides habitat for wildlife throughout the community--in individual backyards, on school grounds and in public areas such as parks, community gardens, places of worship and businesses.

It is a place where the residents make it a priority to provide habitat for wildlife by providing the four basic elements that all wildlife need: food, water, cover and places to raise young.

The community also educates its residents about sustainable gardening practices such as reducing or eliminating chemical fertilizers and pesticides, conserving water, planting native plants, removing invasive plants and composting.

Community Wildlife Habitats are organized by a team of people, who not only help create habitat, but also hold workshops about gardening for wildlife and organize community events such as stream or trail cleanups.

Creating a Community Wildlife Habitat doesn't happen overnight.  Here are some steps you should follow to ensure a successful project:

1. Pick a Community Wildlife Habitat Team Leader
For your Community Wildlife Habitat project to be successful, you will need a motivated and dedicated person to guide the Habitat Team and community. This individual, known as the Community Wildlife Habitat Team Leader, will be responsible for the following duties:

    · Cultivate and direct the Habitat Team.
    · Organize and mobilize the community.
    · Create goals for the community with the assistance of the Habitat Team.
    · Work with a wide variety of resources within the community from government agencies to local non-profits.
    · Work with local agencies and businesses to obtain funding for the community's project.
    · Educate the community on the principles of the Certified Wildlife Habitat™ program.

2. Build a Community Wildlife Habitat Team
A team effort is required for your Community Wildlife Habitat project to be sustainable. While each team will be unique, we recommend a team of four to ten people who represent various viewpoints in the community. NWF can assist you in building your team by putting you in touch with certified Certified Wildlife Habitat participants, Habitat Steward volunteers and other contacts in your area.

    A sample Habitat Team might include representatives from a selection of the following:

    • neighborhood association
    • land trust
    • conservation organization
    • birding club
    • garden club
    • wild bird feeding store
    • chamber of commerce
    • plant supplier/nursery
    • community center
    • affordable housing provider
    • local or county government
    • senior center or organization
    • school district administration
    • community gardening association
    • local PTA/PTO
    • student environmental/ecology club
    • place of worship
    • local business
    • nature center

 3.  Register your Team and create a Plan of Action
Once you've formed your Habitat Team, your first project will be to research your community and develop goals, a vision statement and an action plan based on the results of your research.

New Jersey Audubon is working with the community of Cape Island to create a Community Wildlife Habitat.

With the information you've gathered, you are ready to complete the NWF Community Wildlife Habitat Registration Form.

New Jersey Audubon (NJA) is proud to be the New Jersey affiliate of National Wildlife Federation, and enthusiastically supports gardening for wildlife and the NWF "Certify a Habitat" program.