LOVELAND, Colo. – Centerra has officially been designated as Colorado’s first Community Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). Centerra joins a select group of communities across the nation to share in this honor. A Community Wildlife Habitat project creates multiple habitat areas in backyards, schoolyards, corporate properties, community gardens, parkland and other spaces.
“We are thrilled to be the first community in Colorado to receive this designation because it recognizes both our own deep commitment to creating sustainable communities that are environmentally aware and our residents who have joined us by designing and designating their yards with nature in mind,” said David Crowder, vice president of community development and general manager of Centerra. “We hope that this designation will inspire more Centerra residents to register their yards and join the program and we hope that our example will be emulated by other communities across Colorado.”
In 2014, the High Plains Environmental Center (HPEC) applied to register Centerra as a Community Wildlife Habitat. HPEC staff have worked for the past four years to attain the certification and designation, leading various projects focused on wetland restoration, planting and promoting landscaping for pollinators, and native plant propagation. Centerra commends the High Plains Environmental Center for its wildlife conservation efforts and for coming together for a common purpose – to create a community where people and wildlife can flourish.
To date 107 habitats have been created in Centerra with 90 becoming a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat—74 homes, 10 common areas and six in a Nature Center/Educational setting, which includes the High Plains School. A community celebration to honor the certification is planned for September 20th.
“These projects benefit native plants, wildlife, and people through the creation of sustainable landscapes that require little or no pesticides, fertilizers, or excess watering,” said Jim Tolstrup of High Plains Environmental Center. “These native landscapes connect natural areas that have been fragmented by human activity and allow for enhanced wildlife habitat and migration corridors. They consume less water and other resources than conventional landscapes, as they are adapted to Colorado’s arid environment. Native habitat landscaping can serve to beautify our urban areas and give residents pride in their neighborhoods.”
“Providing a home for wildlife in our cities – whether it’s in neighborhoods or in schools, businesses or parks – is the demonstration of a healthy and active eco-system. There is no more rewarding way to stay connected to nature than to have it right outside your door,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, senior director of community wildlife with the National Wildlife Federation.
NWF’s Certified Wildlife Habitat program has been helping people take personal action on behalf of wildlife for more than 40 years. The program engages homeowners, businesses, schools, churches, parks and other institutions that want to make their communities wildlife-friendly. The Community Wildlife Habitat project is part of NWF’s Garden for Wildlife program.
Since 1973, NWF has provided millions of people with the basic guidelines for making their landscapes more wildlife-friendly. There are more than 200,000 certified habitats nationwide. For more information, please go to: www.nwf.org/garden.