DIGITAL ORIGINAL: Lancaster County certified as a Community Wildlife Habitat

Lancaster

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — At the end of last month, Lancaster County was officially certified as a National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitat.

This means that there are a certain number of sites in the county — over 500 sites, actually — that have been designated Certified Wildlife Habitats by the National Wildlife Federation. These locations range from private properties to schools to places of worship explains Linda Ferich, who, along with the Lancaster Conservancy, spearheaded the initiative to make Lancaster County a Community Wildlife Habitat.

In order to become a Certified Wildlife Habitat, a site must offer sources of food, water, and cover for wildlife, as well as places to raise young. It also has to incorporate sustainable gardening practices, which can include things like planting native species or composting.

The Lancaster Conservancy had to offer educational programming in order to earn the county the title of Community Wildlife Habitat, too, explains Ferich. She personally has visited over 300 properties to teach their owners how to create wildlife habitats since the Lancaster Conservancy began the certification process for the county in 2018.

Additionally, Ferich and others trained dozens of Habitat Stewards — volunteers who help enact sustainable landscaping procedures and analyze sites for wildlife habitats. Some of these volunteers have created spin-off programs, such as Schoolyard Habitat and Sacred Grounds which advise schools and places of worship, respectively, in developing wildlife habitats, explains Ferich.

In honor of the work of the Lancaster Conservancy, the Lancaster County habitat has been titled the “Lancaster Conservancy Community Wildlife Habitat,” says Ferich.

Ferich says that although the county has been designated a Community Wildlife Habitat, there is still more work to be done. Those who are interested in developing wildlife habitats on their property can reach out to Ferich at lferich@lancasterconservancy.org. There is also more information available on the Lancaster Conservancy’s website.

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