The City of Houston has been certified by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) as it’s “largest ever Community Wildlife Habitat™”! Among other requirements, this certification means that in a public and private collaboration, “nearly 1,000 yards, balconies, schools, parks and other properties provided the 4 elements that all wildlife need to thrive and survive – food, water, cover and places to raise young.”(1) In addition, “the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) has identified 80 parks with 16,000 acres of land as having natural areas” and “worked with volunteers to plant 2,500 native plants in public parks, maintained demonstration gardens at the City Hall Annex and Clinton Park, involved the master naturalists and the native plant society, spread the word at Earth Day Houston, Nature Fest and other events, and so much more.”(1)
To mark this accomplishment, on April 18, 2017 at City Hall in the Council Chambers, Mayor Sylvester Turner proclaimed that day as Wildlife Habitat Day in the City of Houston. As shown in the above photo from HPARD facebook, many of the partners in this effort were present to celebrate, including HNPAT President, Kelly Shield, who was an HPARD intern.
HPARD’s Natural Resources Management Program (NRMP) under Jed Aplaca (firstname.lastname@example.org) has done a wonderful job in making our city wildlife friendly. To be up-to-date on all NRMP programs, including its twice monthly plant propagation programs using volunteers at the City of Houston Greenhouse in Memorial Park, its plantings at city parks, and its free training classes, email Jed to get on the NRMP monthly email list. Join these activities and learn by doing! A vast majority of the plants propagated are prairie plants, so volunteering for the workdays enables learning about prairie plants from seed to maturity.
Want to create an oasis in your space (yard, balcony…) for wildlife? Get certified as a NWF Wildlife Habitat.
Horrors! I was intending to write “Get certified as a NWF Wildlife Habitat or as a Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s Best of Texas Backyard Habitat” But at the TPWD website is this notice:
“Thank you for your interest in becoming recognized as having a Certified Texas Wildscape.
Due to the lack of staff and a current hiring freeze our agency is not currently able process, review, and approve new “Texas Wildscapes” or “Best of Texas Backyard Habitat Certification” applications.
We apologize for this inconvenience.
Please watch our website over the next year for updates on the Texas Wildscapes Certification Program.“
Don’t get me started on what this state is wasting its money on!