Backyard Habitats


Photo courtesy of Bowie resident,
John Teasdale

Loss of Wildlife Habitat

The National Wildlife Federation cites habitat loss as the primary threat to survival of wildlife in the United States. This is mostly caused by human activities that hinder the ability of wildlife to find food, water, cover, and/or places to raise their young. According to NWF, the three major kinds of habitat loss are:

  • habitat destruction (e.g., clearing forests, filling wetlands);
  • habitat degradation (e.g., invasive species, pollution); and 
  • habitat fragmentation

Habitat fragmentation is especially problematic in urban and suburban areas like Bowie. Roads and development chop up the large contiguous forests, fields and migratory paths that used to be available to wildlife.

Certified Wildlife Habitats (TM)

DSC_0205_5427 (2)_thumb.jpg
Photo courtesy of Maria Parisi
To try to give birds, butterflies and other wildlife in Bowie a reprieve from the stress of habitat fragmentation and degradation, the City has joined the National Wildlife Federation (NWF)
Community Wildlife Habitat program where residents and communities can collaborate to help provide the requirements of all wildlife: food, water, cover, and places to raise young. To participate, the City must meet education and community project requirements and have homes, community sites (office buildings, parks, places of worship, homeowner associations, etc.), and schools certified by NWF. Property owners who provide the four basic elements of habitat can apply for certification at the National Wildlife Federation website.  

NWF reviews applications and mails certificates indicating the property is a Certified Wildlife Habitat. NWF provides a 1-year membership in return for an application fee. Every certification in Bowie supports our community goal!

Community Certification Progress:

In 2016, Bowie became the 95th community and fifth in Maryland to achieve NWF Certified Community Wildlife Habitat status. However, there are yearly requirements to maintain the community certification including needing additional backyard certifications. 

Interested in turning your yard into a backyard habitat?  Click here to view a brochure that details how to get started.

Annual Habitat Tour 

Each year, Bowie Gardens 4 Wildlife hosts a Backyard Habitat Tour.  A few residents open their yards and habitats to the public to show the ways they are providing for wildlife and using sustainable landscaping practices. They are available to chat about what has and hasn't worked for them and can give pointers on how to get started in your own backyard.