Bird Town Pennsylvania has developed a list of habitat friendly certification/registration programs that are available to property owners. Some of these certifications can be used by large properties as well as a variety of residential sized gardens. This is not a finite list. If you are aware of another organization that is certifying habitat for property owners, please let us know so we can share the information.
Why would Bird Town Pennsylvania promote certifications/registrations?
While each program has a primary focus, each offers a very similar path to sustainable and wildlife friendly development. After all, what is good for pollinators is good for birds and vice versa. A garden intended to provide good habitat for bees and butterflies is also providing food for birds.
Our goal is to engage all property owners and managers who care about providing good habitat for ecological diversity and a sustainable future. It is our vision to build highways of sustenance and safety to counterbalance the tremendous loss of living space for birds, plants, and all native species.
Audubon: Bird-Friendly Habitat
- Emphasis: Safe and healthy habitat for birds
- Requirements: Demographic data on property: size, rural, suburban, etc. Four categories of habitat are listed: Food, Shelter, Water, Nesting — At least 2 items in food and one each in shelter, water and nesting An additional 19 question survey asks for percentages for Bird-Friendly characteristics but it is not clear how these questions impact your acceptance.
- Benefits: Audubon has many downloadable and interactive resources including Plants for Birds – a customizable database for native plants for your location with high bird value. The Audubon name is instantly recognizable.
- Cost: $25 application fee includes cost of yard sign
Homegrown National Park
- Emphasis: Creating habitat for wildlife one yard at a time
- Requirements: Use the link to register and then begin to add plantings of native plants for your map
- Benefits: Native plants and other resources; put your property on the map; create and track native plant goals
- Costs: Free registration, free downloadable sign for printing
Monarch Watch: Monarch Waystations
- Emphasis: Replacing lost habitat for Monarch Butterflies
- Requirements: The application requires one or more plants or practices in the following categories: shelter-plant density, host plants for Monarchs, nectar plants – annuals or biennials, nectar plants – perennials, sustainable management practices
- Benefits: Certificate, garden placed on map, access to resources for Monarchs
- Cost: Application fee is $16; signs are available for $24.95
National Wildlife Federation
- Emphasis: Safe backyard habitat for all wildlife
- Requirements: Habitat needs: three of the listed sources of food, one of the listed sources of water, two of the listed places to find shelter and two places of the listed features to nest and raise young. Additionally two out of three categories of soil and water conservation, controlling exotic species and organic practices.
- Benefits: Garden for Wildlife e-newsletter, 1yr subscription to National Wildlife magazine, 10% off catalog merchandise, plant suggestions, certificate, membership card, eligible for yard sign
- Cost: Certification $20, Yard Sign $30 + tax and shipping
National Pollinator Garden Network
- Emphasis: Bees, birds, bats and other pollinators
- Requirements: Guidelines are provided for pollinator gardens, native and non-invasive pollen and nectar plants are permissable, a picture of the garden is requested
- Benefits: Your garden becomes part of the network with a dot on the map
- Cost: Free
North American Butterfly Association
- Emphasis: Native Plants for Butterflies
- Requirements: Three different nectar plants and three different caterpillar food plants are required. They encourage but do not require more than one plant per species of plant and three garden management strategies.
- Benefits: Certificate, recent issue of NABA’s publication “Butterfly Gardiner”, ability to purchase sign, bragging rights
- Cost: Individual Certification $15, Swallowtail or Monarch Sign $25; $5 discount for NABA members
Penn State Extension-Master Watershed Stewards Program: Watershed Friendly Certification Program
- Emphasis: Watershed protection, storm water runoff, conserving water, reducing pollution, supporting wildlife and pollinators
- Requirements: Applicants must obtain a score of 85% to qualify for certification. Property demographic information includes in which large watershed, e.g., Perkiomen Creek and in which major watershed, e.g., Delaware does your property reside. Categories of questions are: reduce stormwater runoff, reduce water pollution, conserving water and supporting wildlife and pollinators. One to three photos of waterpfriendly features; file limit no greater than 500kb.
- Benefits: Making a difference in your community, bragging rights, raising awareness, access to resources
- Cost: Application is free; sign is free for first 250 certifications then a ‘small fee’
Penn State Master Gardener Pollinator Garden Certification
- Emphasis: Bees, birds, bats and other pollinators
- Requirements: Multiples of native trees, shrubs and perennials are required as well as providing water, shelter and food for pollinators and caterpillars. Removal of Invasives plus reduction or elimination of pesticides is also part of the application. At least 5 photos of your garden are required. A committee reviews to award certification; process can take 8 weeks to complete.
- Benefits: Bragging rights and access to resource guides.
- Cost: $10
- Emphasis: Native plants for pollinators and pesticide free gardens
- Requirements: Size of property and list of native plants, shrubs and trees on property; show property on Pollinator Map (Y/N); upload photos of your garden
- Benefits: Bragging rights, access to native pollinator plant list and other resources, Pathways are organized by state with the ability of towns to have their own page on the website.
- Cost: Registration is free, Signs cost $10 per 6″ sign and $20 per 12″ sign
- Emphasis: Pledge to protect pollinators
- Requirements: Sign an online pledge to:
1. Grow a variety of bee-friendly flowers that bloom from spring through fall.
2. Protect and provide bee nests and caterpillar host plants.
3. Avoid using pesticides, especially insecticides.
4. Talk to my neighbors about the importance of pollinators and their habitat.
- Benefits: US map is marked with garden location, bragging rights
- Cost: Free, sign available for $57 donation