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Help Make Annapolis Certifiably Wild

National certification hinges on finding 150 homeowners with backyard wildlife habitats

Before Annapolis can earn its wildlife habitat certification, 150 homeowners must first earn backyard wildlife habitat certification.

Annapolis is a city with a green ethic. We’ve been cultivating greenspaces for half a century with street-end parks, our Greenscape city beautification program, our commitment to cover half the city with a tree canopy and our cooperative program with Baltimore Gas and Electric to plant the right tree in the right place.
    Beyond those greenspaces to nourish wildlife, we’ve installed osprey nesting sites and made purple martin and bat houses fixtures in city parks. Beaver that made a home in the Spa Creek watershed near Cherry Grove Avenue were protected in a conservation area under the Annapolis Conservancy. At the city landfill off Defense Highway, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helped create a seven-acre site friendly to rabbits, chipmunks and birds.
    Environmental signs throughout the city help people appreciate our natural resources, and tough city laws protect them. Our landmark nickel-a-day-for-the Bay program, for example, created a stormwater utility law long before the county or state.
    Many city businesses have joined in, creating green roofs and bio-swales. Horn Point Marina, for one, its parking lot awash after every rain, created flowering rain gardens and engaged the students at Eastport Elementary School to cover the shed with a mural about nature. Signage describes the value of rain garden habitats. The Hyatt Building and Park Place are among five others that have green roofs.
    Now’s the time for our good works to stand out so we can be counted by the National Wildlife Federation as a Certified Wildlife Community. Fifty-six U.S. cities, counties and towns — homes to over six million people — have earned that certification. So far only one — Takoma Park — is in Maryland.

Can Annapolis Pass the Test?

    To join that elite number, Annapolis needs to meet three main requirements.    
    1. Certification of five public common areas. Annapolis, as you’ve read above, has many more. The city’s public contribution to wildlife habitat is pretty secure.
    2. Certification of five schools with schoolyard habitats as outdoor classrooms where students learn about ecosystems and local wildlife. All the Annapolis schools have joined in Greenscape, beautifying school grounds with trees and flowers. Eastport Elementary, Green Street Elementary, Tyler Heights, West Annapolis and Adams Park have received green certification from the state or other recognition for protecting their greenspaces by planting trees and gardens for flowers and vegetables and fruit. So our schools are carrying their part of the load.
    3. Certification of 150 backyards that contain plants that sustain native wildlife and the three Bs: bees, butterflies and birds.
    For its population of 36,000, the city needs 150 home gardens that provide water, food and cover for wildlife, a smorgasbord of delights for the three Bs. Gardens sustain natives in hardened times and ensure pollination essential to the habitat’s rebirth and food for creatures.
    Only 33 Annapolis properties are now registered.

Stand Up and Be Counted

    Annapolis is no doubt home to more than the 150 backyard wildlife habitats needed for certification. To help the city get National Wildlife Federation certification as a wildlife sanctuary, your yard has to be counted. You nominate and certify yourself.
    Undoing also helps restore habitat. While protecting our land, hardscape borders of stone and creosoted bulkheads have also reduced the population of horseshoe crabs and terrapins, which lay eggs in soft sand.
    Join 140,000 families and register your wildlife friendly yard now. Your yard can be certified online at www.nwf.org/nwfgarden; 800-822-9919 code 96702.