Once again Vienna has achieved positive national recognition. On Aug, 24, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) certified Vienna as a community wildlife habitat, While the process usually takes 2-5 years, Vienna met – in fact, exceeded – certification requirements in less than 10 months.
More than 120 homes, 12 common areas (parks, businesses, churches), and nine schools attested that they had made their properties wildlife-friendly habitats by providing food, water, shelter, and places for wildlife to raise young. Certification required that the Town engage in a host of wildlife-related education and habitat-enhancement activities. Through efforts such as removing invasive species from Town properties, restoring local streams, operating the Town’s Learning Garden, and conducting native plant sales the Town was able to meet requirements.
On behalf of the Community Enhancement Commission (CEC)-sponsored team (including Maureen Alonso, Desiree DiMauro, Liz DiFrancisco, Anne Stuntz, and myself), we extend our enormous gratitude to the homeowners, businesses, and schools who made the commitment to certify their properties. Success could not have been achieved without the contributions of our partners – Town of Vienna Department of Parks and Recreation and the historic Ayr Hill Garden Club. Liz’s DiFrancisco’s Vienna Plant Swap Facebook page also was vital to our success in that it spread word of our project and generated numerous property certifications. These efforts are a testament to the extraordinary community spirit that makes Vienna such a wonderful place to live.
As with any stewardship activity, ensuring that the Town remains a healthy and inviting environment for its residents as well as birds, pollinators, and other wildlife will require continuous effort. All certified communities must continue their stewardship on behalf of wildlife as part of an annual recertification process. The CEC and the certification project team plan to continue habitat-enhancement efforts and to provide the community with additional educational information on the importance of wildlife to our food supply and quality of life. Hundreds of additional properties in Vienna are candidates for certification under NWF’s Gardening for Wildlife program. We urge homeowners, businesses, churches, and schools who have not already done so to join their neighbors in getting their properties certified. Simply go to nwf.org/gardenforwildlife to learn how.