DescriptionMore than 75 residents, neighbors, and friends gathered at City Hall in Bowie, Maryland in December of 2016 to celebrate the community’s seven year journey to become a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat under the National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) Garden for Wildlife program. The excitement in the room was palpable as Bowie was awarded its certification in a public presentation to Mayor Robinson and city council members. Bowie became the 95th Certified Community Wildlife Habitat in the United States and the 5th in Maryland, joining Takoma Park, Centerville, Annapolis, and Rockville.
This massive effort, initiated by Maria Parisi and led by the Bowie Gardens for Wildlife Habitat Team, resulted in the creation of over 230 wildlife-friendly gardens throughout the city. The team also organized countless events and workshops, including native plant sales sponsored by the local garden club and an annual Backyard Habitat Tour, to educate residents about the need for habitat creation and engage them in the program.
The city of Bowie itself was a crucial partner and helped to encourage community participation by facilitating the installation of a demonstration garden behind City Hall. City employees, students, and other volunteers came together to design and plant a wildlife-friendly garden that improves habitat for birds, butterflies, and other pollinators by providing the four essential elements needed by all wildlife—natural food sources, clean water, cover, and places to raise their young.
NWF’s Garden for Wildlife program encourages responsible gardening that helps pollinators and other wildlife thrive by planting with native species like milkweed and discouraging chemical pesticide use. Since 1973, the program has educated and empowered more than 200,000 wildlife gardeners including individuals, schools, groups, and whole communities committed to creating and restoring habitat. The importance of this program is underscored in urban and suburban, densely populated corridors where wildlife populations are threatened by increasing development as well as climate-related vulnerabilities.
Learn more about NWF’s Garden for Wildlife program and how to restore habitat and wildlife populations in your own community. Connect with Bowie’s Garden for Wildlife team or to learn more about their other environmental initiatives.
-Story contributed by the National Wildlife Federation's Garden for Wildlife program. A version of this story originally appeared on the NWF blog.