Garden for Wildlife

Support wildlife and clean water by creating a certified wildlife habitat and native garden!

In partnership with the NWF’s Garden for Wildlife program, The National Aquarium is working to increase habitat for backyard wildlife species and protect pollinator populations and you can help by creating a wildlife habitat! You can make a difference by inviting wildlife back to your own yard or neighborhood by planting a simple garden that provides 5 key elements: Food, Water, Cover, Places to Raise Young & Sustainable Practices.

Every habitat garden is a step toward replenishing resources for wildlife in Maryland. Your $20 application fee supports NWF programs to aid in the decline of habitat for bees, butterflies, birds, amphibians and other wildlife and also supports work for local wildlife right here in Maryland.

Click here to start the online certification application or download the application here.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is NWF’s certified wildlife habitat program?

A program that has been helping people nurture wildlife where they live, learn, work, play, and worship since 1973. By certifying your backyard habitat, you can show everyone that your yard is helping provide valuable habitat for wildlife. Just provide the basic components of habitat and the birds and other wildlife will show up! It’s that simple!

What components make up a certified wildlife habitat?

Certifying a site is as simple as providing the main habitat components—food, water, cover and places to raise young—and practicing sustainable gardening techniques, such as eliminating pesticides, conserving water and planting native species.

How does certifying help Maryland?

  • Include information regarding wildlife issues specific to your state and how a portion of the certification fee goes towards improving those efforts
  • Share regional native plants to be included in a certified habitat
  • Create a goal number of certified wildlife habitats in your state
  • Provide photos of gardens and other certified habitats and include testimonials from certifiers about the success of their gardens

Who can certify?

  • Include information regarding wildlife issues specific to your state and how a portion of the certification fee goes towards improving those efforts
  • Share regional native plants to be included in a certified habitat
  • Create a goal number of certified wildlife habitats in your state
  • Provide photos of gardens and other certified habitats and include testimonials from certifiers about the success of their gardens

What are the benefits of certification?

Aside from offering wildlife a wonderful place to thrive, you'll be eligible for the following benefits:

  • Inclusion in the National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Wildlife Habitat® national network 
  • A personalized certificate for your wildlife habitat 
  • An optional press release to share with your local media about your achievement 
  • A subscription to the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife™ newsletter 
  • A free one-year membership to the National Wildlife Federation which includes a subscription to National Wildlife® magazine
  • A 10% discount on nesting boxes, feeders, birdbaths and other products from National Wildlife® catalog
  • Eligibility to purchase and post an attractive yard sign to display your commitment to wildlife and the environment
  • A subscription to the National Aquarium’s monthly conservation e-newsletter

How much does the certification cost?

$20 Application Fee* (non-refundable) - REQUIRED
*Applications Fee Waived for Pre-K-12 School Habitats

How to show your support?

Need blurb. You can purchase your own cobranded National Aquarium/National Wildlife Federation yard sign:

What are some local resources?


Wildlife Certification Terms

Stormwater Runoff

Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snowmelt events flows over land or impervious surfaces and does not percolate into the ground. As the runoff flows over the land or impervious surfaces (paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops), it accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment or other pollutants that could adversely affect water quality if the runoff is discharged untreated (Definition according to the EPA)

Native plant

Native plants (also called indigenous plants) are plants that have evolved over thousands of years in a particular region. They have adapted to the geography, hydrology, and climate of that region. Native plants occur in communities, that is, they have evolved together with other plants. As a result, a community of native plants provides habitat for a variety of native wildlife species such as songbirds and butterflies. (Definition according to the EPA)

Non-Native Plant

Non-native plants (also called non-indigenous plants, invasive plants, exotic species, or weeds) are plants that have been introduced into an environment in which they did not evolve. Introduction of non-native plants into our landscape has been both accidental and deliberate. In general, aggressive, non-native plants have no enemies or controls to limit their spread. As they move in, complex native plant communities, with hundreds of different plant species supporting wildlife, will be converted to a monoculture. This means the community of plants and animals is simplified, with most plant species disappearing, leaving only the non-native plant population intact. Native plants are unable to compete for available sunlight, water, and nutrients. Areas infested with non-native plants lose as much as 50% of their original native plant populations. This limits the variety of food and cover available to birds and may cause the birds to move or disappear from a region altogether. (Definition according to the EPA)

BayScaping or Conservation Landscaping

Using native plants, removing invasive plants, conserving water, eliminating or reducing chemical fertilizers and pesticides to reduce pollution and conserve resources. BayScaping also includes shaping the ground for better infiltration and to control erosion and enhancing aesthetics and wildlife habitat. (Definition from Chesapeake Ecology Center)





Back to the Top

Conservation Blog

The National Aquarium strives to enhance ocean and climate literacy for everyone.

Read More

Sign up for Conservation News