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NWF Community Wildlife Habitat™ Certification


Butterfly at Snyder ParkFort Lauderdale is unique among urban areas in that it is home to a diverse array of wildlife: native and migrating birds, interesting insects,mammals around since this area was more Everglades than not, seasonal sea turtles, and of course our fish and marine life. All of these animals have a role to play in the health and quality of our environment. Many of them serve as natural pest control, such as ladybugs that feed on our city's whiteflies. Others are productive pollinators, such as the, butterflies, hummingbirds and bees that are so essential to our agriculture industry. Some balance the food chain, such as possums and native snakes which keep the rodent population in check. And others support our tourism industry, such as the sea turtles and manatees that tourists come from afar to see. 

The City of Fort Lauderdale strives to protect our wildlife through preservation of greenspace, night lighting adjustments, waterway guidelines, and more, including the targeted development of habitat.  We are participating in the National Wildlife Federation's Community Wildlife Habitat™ program, which provides a fun way for residents, businesses, students and local organizations to get involved in protecting our wild neighbors.

What is a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat? 

The Certified Community Wildlife Habitat™ program is designed to encourage localities to achieve a critical mass of habitat suitable for native species. We have adopted growing habitat as part of the City’s vision and strategic plans, and working towards certification provides us with an accountability system. Becoming a certified Community Wildlife Habitat will strengthen the quality of our ecosystem, making us more resilient, and getting us further towards other goals outlined in City’s Sustainability Action Plan and long term vision.

How do we become a certified Community Wildlife Habitat?

There are two benchmark goals our City needs to achieve in order to become a certified Community Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife FederationThe first is certifying a number of individual properties as Wildlife Habitats including residences and businesses, on school grounds and in public areas such as parks, community gardens, and places of worship. The minimum number of certifications for a city of our size is 639 properties as follows:





Places of Worship




Other Community Institutions


Community Green Spaces






The second benchmark is engaging the community in activities that help foster greater knowledge and understanding of the principles of the Certified Wildlife Habitat program. Each type of activity is worth a certain number of points. Once certification is achieved, a minimum number of activities need to be continued to retain certification. They are:

Education and Outreach Projects


Community conservation Projects


Volunteer Trainings







How to Get Involved 

Want to get involved in making Fort Lauderdale a happier, healthier, and greener place for your neighbors, including the wild ones? Visit our page on Build Your Own Certified Wildlife Habitat.  There, you can learn how to create a habitat or certify an existing space.

You can build a habitat as an individual project, or band together with your neighbors to certify a whole neighborhood.

You can also get involved in the wider regional effort. Visit the NatureScape Broward Volunteer page for information on getting involved with Florida Master Gardener, Florida Master Naturalist, Natural Wildlife Federation Habitat Stewards, and North American Butterfly Association.

Visit NWF's webpage on Certified Community Wildlife Habitats for more information, and visit these websites to get started with your own habitat.

National Wildlife Federation LogoNational Wildlife Federation - Garden for Wildlife

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is America's largest conservation organization and works to preserve wildlife for future generations.  Their "Garden for Wildlife" website is a comprehensive guide to developing natural habitat in almost any size space from acreage to containers.  Almost 175,000 habitats have been certified through NWF's programs, and their site has case studies on some of the most interesting.  Check there to find resources for every climate, as well as for residential and commerical applications. There are even lesson plans for schools and projects for students.  The site includes instructions for creating habitats, and you can apply for certification online as well.  

UF FFL-logo

Florida-friendly Yard Recognition

At the State level, Florida Yards & Neighborhoods (FYN) recognizes landscapes that promote the protection of water resources through the use of Florida-friendly landscape principles.  FYN offers their own certification program, which layers FFL atop the NWF's four requirements.  The program is offered through the University of Florida's IFAS extension.  Their website is the go to place for primary information on Florida-friendly landscaping.

Naturescape Broward LogoNatureScape Broward 

Closer to home, NatureScape Broward is a county effort dedicated to the creation of Florida-Friendly backyards that conserve water, protect water quality, and create wildlife habitats in Broward County.  The City of Fort Lauderdale actively supports and benefits from the NatureScape program.  When you have your habitat certified through either the NWF or the Florida Yards progam, you qualify for classification as a Broward NatureScape.


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