West Virginia Wild Yards Program
Many people create wildlife around their homes without realizing it. Bird feeders, fruiting plants and water sources attract wildlife into our yards, fulfilling their needs and providing us with hours of enjoyment. Homeowners everywhere have found that songbirds and other wildlife are pleasant to live with. Landscaping with the habitat needs of wildlife in mind can be an enjoyable and inexpensive pastime. In fact, the National Wildlife Federation estimates that an investment of about $200 can increase property value in time from 3 to 10%. On a $40,000 house, that’s $1200 – $4000.
The Wildlife Diversity Program (WDP) has developed the West Virginia Wild Yards Program to recognize the efforts of backyard wildlife landscapers. Approved properties will be entered into the WV Wild Yards Registry maintained by the WDP. The property owner will receive a certificate and a sign that can be placed within the backyard habitat to let everyone know that the area is part of a statewide network of WV Wild Yards.
How do you attract wildlife to your yard? It’s easy to improve wildlife habitat if you provide the four necessary components: food, water, shelter and space. This task can be as easy as providing feeders, birdbaths and nest boxes or as elaborate as restoring a native meadow. A diverse yard will decrease the amount of time spent mowing and watering, as well as being less vulnerable to insect and rodent pests while encouraging insect-eating predators. By planting evergreens on the north and west sides of your home you can block winter winds and prevent snow accumulation resulting in lower heating bills. Hardwoods planted for wildlife on the south side of your house will provide shade during the summer, decreasing your cooling bills. These are only a few of the benefits of landscaping with the environment in mind.
Whether you live on a quarter-acre suburban lot, a five-acre townhouse development or in a city apartment, you can provide habitat for wildlife. You can start right away by filling a new birdfeeder with sunflower seeds, hanging a nest box, or planting trumpet- creeper vines for hummingbirds or milkweed for butterflies.
Instructions on applying for a wild yard certification: