Certify your Garden for Wildlife™
Make your garden a CERTIFIED WILDLIFE HABITAT® to show your commitment to wildlife in Oklahoma!
The Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma and the National Wildlife Federation have teamed up to recognize your yard, balcony container garden, schoolyard, work landscape and roadside green space through the Garden for Wildlife program. Join more than 255,000 others recognized since 1973!
Garden for Wildlife™: What is it all about?
To Garden for Wildlife™ is simply the act of planting with a purpose to benefit wildlife and people. Gardeners incorporate native plants and eco-friendly gardening practices into their regular gardening to provide natural sources of food, water, cover and places for wildlife to raise their young.
It especially benefits birds, pollinators such as bees and butterflies, and other insects, amphibians and small mammals and reptiles. Certifying is as simple as providing the four habitat components—food, water, cover, and places to raise young—and practicing sustainable gardening techniques such as eliminating pesticides, conserving water and planting native species.
It helps people to connect to nature and enjoy the physical, mental and spiritual benefits that come with a daily dose of nature.
Studies show gardening can have positive impacts on blood pressure, brain activity, sleep patterns, stress reduction and mood. Working outdoors with exposure to sunlight helps reduce Vitamin D deficiencies and provides physical exercise. Incorporating vegetable and fruit plants—many of which rely on animal pollinators such as bees to produce—is a great way to supply your family with healthy fresh food.
Joining the Garden for Wildlife movement creates a sense of community with like-minded people who care about wildlife and our shared environment. It can strengthen family bonds and intergenerational interaction when the entire family gets involved together to create and enjoy the wildlife habitat garden.
The results are in.
Scientific studies confirm wildlife thrive in greater numbers where gardens are planted with native plants that provide floral diversity, rich nectar, pollen sources and three-season bloom.
Attracting Wildlife Into Your Yard
Attracting wildlife into your yard is as easy as providing food, water, cover and places to raise young. Here are some ideas to get you started in your yard:
- Food: Native plants provide wildlife with nectar, seeds and berries. Feeders can supplement.
- Water: All animals need water to survive and some need water for bathing or breeding.
- Cover: Wildlife needs shelter to escape bad weather and predators.
- Places to Raise Young: Wildlife needs special habitats for bearing and raising young.
Plants with seeds, berries, nectar or nuts
Host plants for butterflies
Fountain with running water
Certifying your garden space: Great for wildlife, and it comes with perks!
When you certify a wildlife habitat garden, not only will wildlife and your local environment benefit, you’ll get some great perks as as part of the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife™ community and will receive the following benefits:
• Personalized certificate with unique habitat number designating your garden space as a Certified Wildlife Habitat
• A one-year membership in the National Wildlife Federation and subscription to National Wildlife® magazine
• 10% off the National Wildlife Federation catalog merchandise, including nesting boxes, feeders, birdbaths, and other items to enhance your wildlife garden
• Subscription to monthly Garden for Wildlife e-newsletter with gardening tips, wildlife stories, and other resources.
Why this is important
Wildlife is disappearing at an alarming rate. Habitat loss of native plants, tree cover, and watershed pollution are contributing factors. In addition, mainstream garden and landscape practices rely on chemicals exposing people and wildlife to systemic harm.
Studies show habitat gardens support wildlife by providing food, water, cover, and places to raise young and often double wildlife presence within one season.
Natural landscapes made up of native wildflowers, shrubs, trees and other native plants and with minimal lawn not only provide habitat for declining wildlife and help keep common species common, they also reduce urban heat islands, increase carbon sequestration, manage storm water runoff, and don’t rely on toxic chemicals.
Additionally, Americans are spending less and less time outdoors, leading to “nature deficit disorder” in children. Wildlife habitat gardens are safe space for people of all ages to connect with nature.
Get this garden wildlife sign to show you’re helping
Certify your habitat
Check the stats
- Approximately 96 percent of backyard birds rely on insects and other invertebrates and the only source of food for their babies. The caterpillars of moths and butterflies, crickets and grasshoppers, and spiders are the most important groups of invertebrates for birds. –Doug Tallamy Research
- A study has shown that one pair of Carolina chickadees must catch between 6-9 thousand caterpillars to successfully feed one nest of young. –Doug Tallamy Research
- Approximately 90 percent of flowering plants rely on animal pollinators for fertilization, without which these plants cannot reproduce or form the seeds, berries, nuts and other foods.
- Approximately 80 percent of our crops rely on animal pollinators. One third of all the food we eat is the result of animal pollination services.
- Creating Wildlife Habitat Gardening works! Research shows that wildlife habitat gardens can support 50 percent more wildlife than surrounding conventional landscapes. –NWF Research