Orlando certified as community wildlife habitat

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A honeybee lands on a firebush flower (hamelia patens), an easy-to-grow shrub native to Florida. PHOTO BY LOGAN LAMPHERE

A honeybee lands on a firebush flower (hamelia patens), an easy-to-grow shrub native to Florida. PHOTO BY LOGAN LAMPHERE

After nearly two years of creating awareness, the City of Orlando became a certified community wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation in April.

Daniel Friedline, a sustainability project manager with the Office of Sustainability & Resilience, said that the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) provides general guidelines on how many “points” a community must receive to obtain certification. To gain points, a city has to have a certain number of certified individual homes, common areas, parks, businesses or schools.

In Orlando, we have over 370 homes, schools, parks and businesses registered as NWF wildlife habitats that provide the necessary food, shelter, water and other needs for local wildlife.

Friedline goes on to say that along with the need to obtain the points for NWF wildlife habitats, the city had to complete specific education, outreach, registration and administration.

“The City of Orlando’s goal is to continuously promote the awareness about our impact on wildlife habitats and how to create a truly positive impact here in the city. No matter the space or location, any resident has the opportunity to create areas for wildlife that promote their overall success,” Friedline said. “The education of our residents about what wildlife habitats entail and how they can help out in this area would be our main goal over the next year.

“We will be doing this through continued workshop and education programs held throughout the city as well as ensuring all students have the ability to visit the environmental-education center at [Water] Conserv II so that they can learn about environmental sustainability.”

Water Conserv II is a large water reclamation facility southwest of Downtown on McLeod Road, which hosted a workshop on June 4 about conserving and creating wildlife habitats in urban and suburban areas. Friedline is working on a second workshop in August that will potentially be held at Leu Gardens and will include a screening of the recently released documentary about Central Florida and the Everglades, “The Last Green Thread.”

You can learn more and certify your own property at www.nwf.org/ Garden-For-Wildlife/.

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