“Roswell is fast on its way to becoming the third city in Georgia to receive the designation of Community Wildlife Habitat. We currently have 222 certified homes, public spaces, or schools and we need only four more homes to meet our goal,” said city employee Vicki Culbreth, who is in charge of the habitat project. Residents are encouraged to certify their yards and help Roswell achieve this prestigious designation. In order to become a certified habitat, a property must provide the four basic elements all wildlife needs: food, water, cover and places to raise young.
In addition to providing for wildlife, certified habitats also conserve natural resources by reducing or eliminating the need for fertilizers, pesticides, and/or irrigation water.
The recently certified public properties are Barrington Hall, Bulloch Hall, Smith Plantation, Hembree Park, Leita Thompson Park, Waller Park, Don White Park, Garrard Landing, East Roswell Park, Roswell Area Park, Big Creek Park and Old Mill Park.
“It wasn’t difficult to certify 12 of the city’s parks. The city makes it a priority to create and maintain these wild areas because our residents see the value in them,” Culbreth said.
“It’s amazing that we are so close to a major metropolitan area, but we can visit the river and see herons or snapping turtles, or walk the trails in Big Creek or Leita Thompson parks and hear owls. Having these spaces isn’t just beneficial for wildlife, it also keeps us connected to the earth that sustains us.”
Residents can certify their yards by going online to www.nwf.gov. Culbreth said the city hopes to produce several online webinars in 2013 about cultivating the human-wildlife relationship
“I think it’s especially important for children to understand that they are surrounded by such amazing ecology. They don’t have to visit the zoo or go to the rainforest to see wildlife,” Culbreth said. “It’s right here in our own backyards, and hopefully this initiative will help foster a sense of wonder and responsibility in caring for these spaces.”
The National Wildlife Foundation began the Certified Wildlife Habitat program in 1973 and has since certified almost 150,000 habitats nationwide. The average habitat is between 1/3 and ½ acres, but certified sites range in size from urban balconies to multiple acres.
For more information, contact Culbreth at (770) 641-3715 or firstname.lastname@example.org.