Zilker Neighborhood Gardens

Commentary by a National Wildlife Steward who helps Zilker neighbors establish native plant gardens

Category Archives: NWF Habitat Certification

TWO Habitat Talks on garden prep, design, & planning – Free 1/10/15

JANUARY 10 (2 Sessions)

(9:30-11am) Winter Garden Maintenance and Prepping the Garden for Spring
Learn how to assess shrubs and small trees for health and beauty and learn how to trim overgrown areas (and what to trim) as necessary to make way for spring blooms.
Instructor: Cathy Nordstrom, Sans Souci Gardens
REGISTER FOR THIS SESSION

(1-4pm) Design and Planning for a Successful Habitat Garden
Learn the basic elements of site assessment and how to transform a traditional “lawn-scape” into a haven for wildlife. If you have one, please bring a copy of the survey of your property to class.
Instructor: Marya Fowler, National Wildlife Federation
REGISTER FOR THIS SESSION

“Habitat Talks” happen at Discovery Hill Outdoor Learning Center located at the Science and Health Resource Center in Austin ISD. Discovery Hill is a National Wildlife Federation premier demonstration habitat that NWF funded and implemented in AISD in 2013.

For more information about the sequence of talks in 2014-2015, go to http://www.nwf.org/South-Central-Region/temp_event_AUS_HabitatTalks.aspx

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Habitat Talk about Birds – Free on 11/8

NOVEMBER 8 – Birds in the Winter Garden

(9:30-11am) Learn how to keep birds happy through the winter, what you might expect to see, and some of the best native plants to sustain birds during the cold months.
Instructor: Ryan Fleming, Wildewoode Landscapes
REGISTER FOR THIS SESSION

“Habitat Talks” happen at Discovery Hill Outdoor Learning Center located at the Science and Health Resource Center in Austin ISD. Discovery Hill is a National Wildlife Federation premier demonstration habitat that NWF funded and implemented in AISD in 2013.

For more information about the sequence of talks in 2014-2015, go to http://www.nwf.org/South-Central-Region/temp_event_AUS_HabitatTalks.aspx

Tending the Fall Habitat Garden (free workshop on 10/11)

OCTOBER 11 – Tending the Fall Habitat Garden

(9:30-11am) The class will cover fall maintenance, seed collection, and suggested plantings. After discussion, participants will be able to practice what they have learned in the garden and help with seed collecting.
Instructor: Judy Walther, Environmental Survey Consulting

Hope to see you there.

You must:
REGISTER FOR THIS SESSION

For a description of the full series (October-May) please click on the following link. http://www.nwf.org/South-Central-Region/temp_event_AUS_HabitatTalks.aspx

2014 Neighborhood Habitat Challenge (Pollinator Garden Challenge) Started April 15 – Nov 15

Meredith Gray, Conservation Program Coordinator, Sustainable Urban Agriculture & Community Gardens & Wildlife Austin Program in Austin, TX, has announced the new 2014 Wildlife Austin Neighborhood Habitat Challenge and it is The Pollinator Garden Challenge! Neighborhoods are once again challenged to create wildlife friendly yards using native plants, but with an added challenge of supporting our pollinators with specific plant palettes and garden husbandry. This spring, make a home for bees, butterflies, beetles, moths, hummingbirds in your backyard.  

The great thing about this program is that it is completely FREE! Once you’ve created your new garden, it is free to get certified through the City of Austin – they pay the fee for you when you request a pre-paid habitat certification application. To get the application or for contest details contact the Wildlife Austin program: 512-978-2606 or http://www.austintexas.gov/department/wildlife-austin

The Habitat Challenge is an annual competition hosted by the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department’s Wildlife Austin program.  To compete in the challenge, participants create backyard habitats in their neighborhoods based on criteria developed by the National Wildlife Federation, which include providing food sources, water sources, cover, and places to raise young for local wildlife.

In 2014, neighborhoods are once again challenged to create wildlife friendly yards using native plants, but with an added challenge of supporting our pollinators with specific plant palettes and garden husbandry.  This spring, make a home for bees, butterflies, beetles, moths, hummingbirds in your backyard.  The top three neighborhoods that complete all the requirements and certify the most new habitats between April 15th and November 15th, 2014 will be recognized by the City of Austin and eligible for prizes.

This challenge extends to people with NWF-certified gardens and those who are just starting to add natives to their ecosystem (remember it can be an arrangement of pots on your balcony, not necessarily a large garden.) Following are the steps to follow.

  1. Download the Habitat Challenge Flyer (PDF): habitatchallengeflyer2014
  2. Download the Pollinator Garden Requirements for 2014 Habitat Challenge (DOC): Pollinator Garden Requirements for Habitat Challenge 2014

For those with habitats who are NOT yet certified through the National Wildlife Federation (NWF):

  1. We ask that if you are not already certified with the NWF for backyard habitat, that you fill out both applications – the Pollinator Garden Requirements and the NWF application.  Wildlife Austin has a certain number of prepaid NWF applications that are given out first come, first serve.  Please email us at wildlife@austintexas.gov with your mailing address if you are interested. We can help you submit your NWF application to certify your backyard habitat.
  2. Please submit the Pollinator Garden Challenge Requirements (attached here) to wildlife@austintexas.gov.
  3. Please note that when you complete the minimum requirements for the Pollinator Garden Challenge, you also complete the NWF habitat requirements.  By participating in the Pollinator Garden Challenge, you can pick up the NWF certification along the way!

For those with habitats who ARE already certified through the National Wildlife Federation:

  1. Congrats on deciding to further improve your backyard habitat!  Please fill out the Pollinator Garden Challenge Requirements (attached here) and submit to wildlife@austintexas.gov.

For everyone:

  1. To win the Challenge, the neighborhood will participate in a community habitat project such as removing invasive plants, planting trees, restoring a creek area, or planting a neighborhood butterfly garden.
  2. Additionally, participating neighborhoods will publish an article about the habitat challenge published in neighborhood newsletter and/or website.

By the way, I’m game to lead a community habitat project. Please let me know if you are interested in a project. I can also easily write an article about the challenge.

2014 Grow Green Homeowner’s Landscape Training ($10) – This Wednesday!

Registration’s open for the 2014 Grow Green Homeowner’s Landscape Training

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 – 6:00pm – 8:30pm
Celebrate Earth Day by joining the City of Austin Grow Green team for our spring homeowner’s landscape training.

Schedule:

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. The Soil-Water Connection, William Glenn, Garden-ville
Learn how compost acts not only to grow healthier plants, prettier plants, but how it can reduce water usage and frequency. Moreover, how it helps the soil’s structure to allow for better infiltration of water into the subsoil layers and back into our aquifers
7:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. Break
7:15 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. Outdoor Water Conservation Rebates, Christopher Charles, Austin Water
WaterWise Landscape refers to landscaping and gardening in ways that reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water from irrigation. Major water savings can be made by converting your healthy turf grass to native plant beds and permeable hardscape. Residential properties may receive $25 for every 100 sq. ft. converted. Get details on program eligibility, the process and requirements, as well as information on some new landscape-related rebates.

8:15 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Questions
Registration: $10 per person, www.austintexas.gov/event/2014-grow-green-homeowner%E2%80%99s-landscape-training

Contact: Denise Delaney, (512) 974-2581, Denise.Delaney@austintexas.gov

National Wildlife Habitat Steward Training – still open for spring 2013

I have heard that there are still a few spots open for our Spring 2013 Habitat Stewards training. You can register on our website www.keepaustinwild.com. Registration closes on March 31st. You don’t need to know anything about gardening to begin with – that’s what the training is for!

$50 for 30 hours of training

A more direct link to the sign-up page is: http://www.austintexas.gov/sites/default/files/files/Parks/Wildlife_Austin/habitatstewards.pdf (PDF – may download or appear in your browser, depending on your technology).

My garden was certified!

It took me a while, but I applied, and my garden was certified as a National Wildlife Habitat. The certification was FREE through the City of Austin. You can see my certificate below. The process involves emailing Erin Cord, Wildlife Austin Park Ranger, who will send you a pre-paid application form. It is a one-page application in which you answer questions regarding the garden / patio / space that you want certified. Essentially, your answers will show that you are meeting the four expectations of a wildlife habitat:

  • food
  • water
  • cover
  • places to raise young

I certified my front garden. Here are some examples of the ways my garden meets the expectations.

  • Food: berries (chile piquin), nectar (butterfly weed, sage, lavender, firebush, Gregg’s mistflower, wildflowers)
  • Water: birdbath refilled every day in summer; 2-3 days in winter
  • Cover: Chile piquin bush, Big Muhly
  • Places to raise young: Big Muhly, Gulf Muhly, Butterfly weed

The wildlife I see in the garden include: bees, birds, butterflies, and hummingbirds. It’s a much better place than the former flat grassy area. I want to hang out there as much as possible.

If you want a tour or help in making a space at your house into a wildlife habitat, I’m available free to help you out. Just let me know!

 

Pictures of Certificate of Certified Wildlife Habitat

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