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The Benefits of Making Your Backyard Welcoming to Wildlife

Apr 8, 2016

Ever wonder how you can make a difference to the health of wildlife living in and around Winnipeg?

The answer can be found right in your own backyard.

Wildlife-Friendly Gardening

The Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) runs a Backyard Habitat Certification Program that recognizes the amazing efforts Winnipeg families are making to ensure their backyards are wildlife-friendly. By following some simple best practices — such as adding native plants, water features and shelter areas — residents can have their yards and gardens officially certified under the program.

“This concept has really caught on, and rightfully so,” says Kenneth Beattie, the CWF’s Manager of Horticultural Education. “It makes sense and is so easy to do. Of course, the more wildlife-friendly regions we create, the greater the number of pollinators we attract such as butterflies and hummingbirds.” Considering that one out of every three bites of food we take in Canada is a result of a pollinator, Beattie says the program makes sense on many fronts. “It's a pretty sensible concept: Build a landscape that attracts the beneficial insects and wildlife, and the undesirable ones will disappear. Mother Nature knows what she is doing, she always has, we are just helping everyone else learn her lessons.”

Whether you have a small patio or a large back yard, your property may receive certification once specific criteria and established best practices are met. Certification remains in place for five years, and certified gardens are eligible to purchase an official plaque to place in their garden.

Sage Creek is already known for its environmental values. The CWF Backyard Certification Program is a natural fit for residents — and could position Sage Creek for being the first residential community to be entirely certified.

“This would be a tremendous accomplishment indeed,” says Beattie. “Certification of only a sampling of properties within the Sage Creek development would be much less effective than the entire community. Already the setting lends itself beautifully to this concept.”

Beattie says there are plenty of reasons to get certified. First, you gain official status and personal satisfaction in being part of a community of Canadians that are helping local and migratory wildlife, including species at risk, right in your own backyard. Second, it’s a great way to meet neighbours and contribute to the excitement of living in an environmentally sustainable community.

Getting Certified 

In certifying properties, the CWF looks to see if your outdoor space meets the needs of wildlife. The program encourages a well-rounded approach that includes natural features which support a diversity of wildlife. 

The application form will guide you through these different components, and you can sign up to receive updates, including additional blogs in this series on CWF Backyard Certification where we will dive into the details of how to make your backyard a welcoming paradise for Manitoba wildlife!

Email Sage Creek to let us know if you’ve applied to certify your backyard so we can follow your progress and share your success!”