The Moorestown Library virtually hosted “Creating a Certified Wildlife Habitat,” a presentation by Kristin Hock, habitat outreach coordinator for New Jersey Audubon, earlier this month.
According to its official website, New Jersey Audubon is a nonprofit committed to connecting all people with nature and stewarding the nature of today for the future. The organization aims to develop, encourage and support sound conservation practices, programs and legislation; advance knowledge of the state’s flora and fauna and their relationship to the habitats on which they depend; and acquire, establish and maintain wildlife sanctuaries and educational centers.
“We have quite a few nature centers and unstaffed sanctuaries throughout the state, so plenty of places to go and visit and hike around,” Hock said.
New Jersey Audubon also maintains stewardship of 34 sanctuaries and conducts its programs through seven staffed facilities. The organization has several departments, including education and research.
“ … Our biologists work with wildlife biologists down in South America and track birds along their migration,” Hock explained. “We have government relations that have been doing really important work throughout our state, such as getting neonicotinoids (insecticides) banned in the state of New Jersey.”
According to Hock, New Jersey Audubon became the National Wildlife Federation state affiliate in 2012.
“ … We work closely with the National Wildlife Federation on some programs that they have developed as a nationwide organization, and we focus on statewide here,” she said.
According to Hock and the federation’s website, all wildlife gardens or yards should include food sources such as native plants or feeders; water sources such as bird baths or shallow dishes of water; cover sources such as dead trees and brush piles; places for wildlife to raise their young, such as a nesting box or water garden; and sustainable gardening practices.
Moorestown is registered to become a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat, and those interested in certifying their gardens or properties must meet all certification requirements, pay a $20 fee and fill out an application at https://www.nwf.org.
“We’re trying to increase habitat connectivity within communities because that will then increase the success rate of wildlife,” Hock pointed out. She also noted the benefits of communities certifying and registering as wildlife habitats.
“Communities have said that they’ve gotten to know their neighbors and local businesses better,” she added. “Community involvement and pride has increased …
“It’s just a really fun program to be involved in and it’s really important for wildlife as well.”
New Jersey Audubon is offering an eight-week “Gardening for Wildlife” webinar series that includes three optional field trips.
For more information, visit https://njaudubon.org.