Los Alamos was honored as the First National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Community Wildlife Habitat in New Mexico, and in 2016, Luisa Grant from NWF Washington came in person to the PEEC Earth day Festival to celebrate the occasion. This means that our community is a place where people understand the habitat needs of native wildlife and intentionally provide for their needs through environmentally friendly gardening practices and community service.
Residents are improving their gardening practices by using the National Wildlife Federation’s guidelines for providing wildlife with food, shelter, water, and places to raise young. Not only are these residents recreating habitats that help wildlife survive, but they are also enjoying a garden that is truly alive with the comings and goings of hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, chipmunks, and lizards.
At the event, we unveiled a sign that marks Los Alamos as a community habitat and installed it on a post at the entrance of our Los Alamos Nature Center. Unfortunately, the unusually heavy winds this spring that resulted in the terrible fires also destroyed the sign. We worked with NWF to get a new sign that is an improved version with a New Mexico logo to show that our community will keep moving forward as good stewards of our environment. With the recent fires and New Mexico still in a major drought despite the amazing monsoon this summer, having drought-tolerant yards has become more important than ever. Native plants are ideal since they take little water, and are beneficial to wildlife but do not turn wildlife into a nuisance. The NWF Backyard Wildlife certification program encourages helping wildlife through responsibly providing the four essential features: food, water, cover, and places to raise young: www.nwf.org/wildlifegardening. Certification is online and takes less than 15 minutes, its a fun and educational process for children.
Los Alamos has done an amazing job with 120 yards certified as backyard habitats in 2016 and 227 today! We hope more of our community considers doing so as well, and that some of our large county buildings plant more native plants and certify too (the visitors center, senior centers, and golf course). NFW handouts on certification can be found at the Los Alamos Nature Center. PEEC has been a great champion for this process and we look forward to finding further ways to help our community continue to be an excellent Community Wildlife Habitat!