The National Wildlife Federation (NWF), American's largest wildlife conservation and education organization, is pleased that the Multi-County Master Gardeners in Shawnee have successfully created a Certified Wildlife Habitat(r) through its Garden for Wildlife(tm) prograNWF celebrates this effort to create a garden that supports birds, butterflies, bees, frogs and other local wildlife.

Every Certified Wildlife Habitat garden provides natural sources of food, water, cover and places to raise young and is maintained in a sustainable way that incorporates native plants, conserves water and doesn't rely on pesticidesCelebrating over 45 years, the Garden for Wildlife movement has recognized over 227,000 Certified Wildlife Habitat gardens across the United States to date, encompassing more than 2.5 million acres that support wildlife locally. Backyards, urban gardens, school grounds, businesses, places of worship, campuses, parks, farms, zoos and community landscapes can all be recognized as wildlife habitats through the program.

"Anyone, anywhere can restore wildlife habitat right in their own yards and communities," said NWF naturalist David Mizejewski. "Whether you garden in a suburban yard, an urban area or a rural plot of land, you can make a difference for local wildlife. Creating a Certified Wildlife Habitat garden is fun, easy and makes a real difference for neighborhood wildlife. It's the perfect grassroots way to think globally and act locally and help birds, butterflies, bees and other wildlife," he added.

Members of our Multi-County Master Gardener Association designed and installed the garden in 2014.  Since that time, management by team members to maintain the garden is ongoing.  Established in conjunction with the Centennial Celebration of the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service (OCES), this garden is a teaching and demonstration garden open to the public, said Carla Smith, Pottawatomie County Horticulture Educator.

The Butterfly Garden is located between the parking lot and the west fence, formerly a turf grass area.  Plants were selected for forage and nectar sources for the butterflies.  Larger bushes provide shelter in this sunny space, and a water area is provided on an irrigation timer.  A link to our plant map and plant list is posted on our butterfly garden web page:

https://apps.dasnr.okstate.edu/ssl/pottawatomie/horticulture/pottawatomie-county-osu-butterfly-garden  We frequently post photos of current activity on Facebook and Instagram.  It is really fun to show students (and young at heart) a caterpillar

Many of NWF's state affiliate organizations are partners in the Certified Wildlife Habitat program. Habitats in partnering states have national and state certification, including Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming. Every Certified Wildlife Habitat garden is now also part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, a national effort to create a million gardens that provide habitat for declining pollinator insects such butterflies and bees. Participants who have their wildlife habitat garden certified receive a personalized certificate with a unique habitat number, a one-year membership to NWF with a subscription to National Wildlife magazine, a subscription to the Garden for Wildlife e-newsletter, a 10 percent discount to National Wildlife catalog, and the exclusive right to post a Certified Wildlife Habitat yard sign. For more information on NWF's Garden for Wildlife movement and how to qualify to have a garden space recognized as a Certified Wildlife Habitat, visit https://www.nwf.org/garden or call 1-800-822-9919.

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