May is National Wildlife Federation's Garden for Wildlife Month

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Make your backyard a wildlife oasis for migrant species this spring.

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“Creating a beautiful wildlife garden provides a natural source of food, water, and shelter for wildlife and their young.” -David Mizejewski

From bird watchers to butterfly lovers, people across the country are transforming their gardens into havens for wildlife in celebration of National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife Month and its Certified Wildlife Habitat® program.

This year’s Garden for Wildlife Month concentrates on migrant species. May is a high traffic month for migrants and a backyard habitat is perfect for the arrival of birds, butterflies and other local wildlife.

“May is one of the best times to garden for wildlife, since so many migratory birds and butterflies are returning, animals emerging from hibernation, and new babies are being born,” said David Mizejewski, naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. “Creating a beautiful wildlife garden provides a natural source of food, water, and shelter for wildlife and their young.”

Birds are not the only species flying north, monarch butterflies are returning from their long spring migration and are looking for places to rest and refuel. Try milkweed for monarchs, as it is essential to the butterflies and their caterpillars. And though most people know food is a great way to attract songbirds, do not forget that water will draw in not only birds but insects and other animals as well.

A great way to ensure that a garden is doing its part for birds, butterflies and other wildlife is to certify it as an official Certified Wildlife Habitat® site. A Certified Wildlife Habitat® provides wildlife with the elements crucial to their survival. Here are a few things one can do to make their backyard an oasis for migrants:

  •     Plant native species. Select a variety of native plants to offer year-round food in the form of seeds, berries, nuts, and nectar. Try to recreate the plant ecosystem native to your area.
  •     Plant native trees to provide shelter and food for nesting birds.
  •     Install nest boxes for birds and their offspring.
  •     Attract hummingbirds with a hummingbird feeder or by planting red, tubular flowers.
  •     Eliminate insecticides within the yard. Insects are the primary source of food for many bird species and are an important source of protein and fats for growing juvenile birds.
  •     Attract migrating butterflies with a nectar feeder and plant host plants for caterpillars for food and shelter.
  •     Get kids outside and gardening. Here are 16 tips for wildlife gardening with children.
  •     Work to certify an eco-friendly Community Habitat or school as a Schoolyard Habitat.
  •     Read this month’s issue of the award-winning National Wildlife magazine for exclusive wildlife gardening information and tips.

By simply providing food, water, cover, and shelter for wildlife one can reap the benefits of a robust natural oasis. This approach to gardening not only nurtures wildlife, it also provides important benefits for one’s home including the need for less water, and a low-maintenance landscape.

In honor of Garden for Wildlife Month, National Wildlife Federation will plant one tree for each yard certified through our Certified Wildlife Habitats® program. The program comes with the added bonuses of a personalized certificate, a subscription to our e-newsletter Wildlife Online—Habitats Edition, a year membership in NWF including a subscription to National Wildlife magazine and a 10% discount on NWF catalog merchandise, and more.

For more information about Garden for Wildlife Month, gardening tips, resources, and certifying a Wildlife Habitat with NWF, please go to:

For more National Wildlife Federation news, visit:

National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization, inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.

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Anne Goddard
National Wildlife Federation
+1 (703) 438-6015
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