Over the weekend I discovered that the Canadian Wildlife Federation has a Backyard Habitat Certification program. The application process doesn’t seem too difficult. A detailed form asks applicants how they are providing wildlife with food, water, shelter and space and why they believe their garden is earth-friendly and safe for wildlife. There is no charge for certification, and applicants that meet the above criteria will receive a certificate and window decal to indicate that the property is a Certified Backyard Habitat.
Aside from the excitement that acquiring a new window decal may generate in some people, it seems that wild animals and native plants are the real winners in this certification program. For decades, the Canadian way of home construction seems to have been in favour of stripping the land of its natural resources, including the topsoil in some instances, and then planting the odd small tree from a nursery and laying a carpet of sod once the house was erected. In the process, animals at all levels of the ecosystem lost their habitat and thriving native species were eliminated.
Back in the late 1980s, our desire to keep our yard in its natural state as much as possible was uncommon. But times are changing and people are looking more carefully at eco-friendly options. Today, more homeowners are considering the benefits of a smaller lawn (less to mow and water) and preserving native species of trees and plants that don’t require pesticides or as much care and maintenance as non-natives in order to thrive. Maybe people are finally discovering that what’s good for the birds is probably also good for us.
For more information about this program, see
For a list of trees and plants native to the Cow Bay area, see