Grandma and Grandpa's house is a magical place for a grandchild. Having your yard certified as a wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation can increase the magical factor tenfold and more.
Certifying your yard, no matter how big or how small, is much easier than one might think. Plus, it's a super outdoor project to do with grandkids of all ages, to create memories that last a lifetime—as well as life-long benefits for fine-feathered friends and other critters, too.
You may already be on your way to having just what you need to certify your yard. Visit the National Wildlife Federation's page on certification to download the list of requirements for you and your grandchildren to verify or put into place.
Basically, all you need is the provisions for birds and animals: food, water, cover, and a place for wildlife to raise their young. Regardless of the size of your outdoor area, if you have those four things, you're already providing what wildlife needs to thrive—and all you need to get certified.
Not so sure? Consider these suggestions from the National Wildlife Federation for meeting the requirements:
- Food sources: native plants, seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, nectar
- Water sources: birdbath, pond, water garden, stream
- Cover: thicket, rock pile, birdhouse
- Places to raise young: dense shrubs, vegetation, nesting box, pond
Team up with the kids to assess what you have and what you need. Then work with your grandchildren to provide what's not already in place.
Once your yard, garden or deck is decked out as required, head back to the National Wildlife Federation's website to fill out the certification application and pay the $20 fee. In about six weeks you'll receive personalized documentation certifying your outdoor area as a national wildlife habitat. Plus, you'll receive a one-year subscription to National Wildlife and quarterly habitat tips emailed to you.
For a little more money, you can order a sign to post in your yard or garden marking it as "Certified Wildlife Habitat."
A better return on investment would be tough to find. With a little yard work plus twenty bucks, you can make a lifesaving difference for wildlife—while making lifelong memories with your grandchildren, too.
Lisa is a Colorado-based freelance writer. She publishes the Grandma's Briefs website, where she shares bits on life's second act and strives to smash the outdated "grandma" stereotype. Lisa has been married to the same man forever; together they have three adult daughters, one son-in-law and three adorable grandsons — children of the middle daughter and her husband. Lisa is easy to find online as she's known as GrandmasBriefs wherever she goes: Twitter (@grandmasbriefs), Facebook, Google+ and elsewhere.