May was designated by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) as Garden for Wildlife Month! We proudly partner with NWF to offer a certification program to help support local wildlife and restore natural habitats in commercial and residential areas. These gardens create networks of high quality habitat, which are essential for wildlife and must encompass urban areas in order to be effective. Creating native gardens is good for communities, wildlife and our health. The Aquarium Conservation Team is working with NWF and other partners to engage residents of the city of Baltimore. Our hope is to make Baltimore the largest certified community habitat in the Chesapeake Bay watershed!
As part of our South Baltimore community engagement & environmental stewardship efforts, we have been working collaboratively with residents, community stakeholders and partners to design and install wildlife habitat gardens. Local community members from Brooklyn and Curtis Bay have not only planted residential gardens but have also come together as a community, in partnership with two faith based congregations, the Pathway Church of God and Templo de Alabanza Y Restauración, to plant a community garden at the Baltimore Dream Center. Whether it was the moment the first flowers bloomed in the gardens or when the first bees, butterflies or birds were spotted, the excitement from local community members has been immeasurable!
You can create your own garden at your home or in your community! Here are a few tips to create a wildlife-friendly environment:
1. Provide food: Planting native shrubs and trees is the easiest way to provide the foliage, nectar, pollen, berries, seeds and nuts that many species need to survive!
2. Provide water: Animals also need clean water sources to drink and bathe! Give them a helping hand by including a rain garden or bird bath in your garden.
3. Provide shelter: Local wildlife needs shelter from bad weather and predators. Shelter created by native plants and shrubs can also double as a great place for animals to raise their offspring!
4. Get certified! Show others in your community that your yard is beautifully done AND helping to support the environment!
Get out in your yard or community to celebrate all month long!