Volunteers maintain and monitor nest boxes throughout the warmer months to get an idea of how many birds reside in Oakland County.

Volunteers maintain and monitor nest boxes throughout the warmer months to get an idea of how many birds reside in Oakland County.

File photo provided by the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Department


Oakland County receives national wildlife habitat honor

By: Tiffany Esshaki | C&G Newspapers | Published October 7, 2019

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OAKLAND COUNTY — In a world on edge over the future of our planet’s natural resources, it’s nice to take a moment to relish what’s going right in our own little ecosystem.

On Oct. 3, Oakland County Executive David Coulter accepted a certification from the National Wildlife Federation naming the county an official Community Wildlife Habitat.

Oakland County is the third-largest county by population in the U.S. to receive the honor, and it’s only the fourth community in Michigan. A Community Wildlife Habitat is described as a multihabitat area in backyards, schoolyards, corporate properties, community gardens, parklands and other spaces.

Coulter was presented the award at the Wixom Community Center during a fall celebration for the Trail, Water and Land Alliance.

“We are delighted to join with the National Wildlife Federation and our partner organizations to earn the Community Wildlife Habitat designation for Oakland County,” Coulter told the crowd. “This program highlights the importance of being stewards of our natural environment, and encourages residents and businesses to enhance their properties to improve the quality of life.”

Manja Holland, a habitat and education manager with the NWF’s Great Lakes Regional Center in Ann Arbor, said the group was impressed with the conservation efforts of the county and the Wildlife Habitats of Oakland collaborative group.

Oakland County has numerous entities fighting for sustainability and wildlife preservation, including the Detroit Zoo, the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office, the Oakland County Department of Economic Development and Community Affairs, the Huron River Watershed Council, the Six Rivers Land Conservancy, the Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve, the Michigan State University Extension and more.

Together, the work of those groups contributes to a measurable impact on the area.

“Creating native plant gardens — whether it’s at home or in schools, businesses, parks and places of worship — supports both healthier wildlife habitats and healthier communities,” Holland said in a prepared statement. “The Wildlife Habitats of Oakland team has done an outstanding job of expanding opportunities for people to connect to nature throughout the county. During a time when wildlife face unprecedented threats as a result of habitat loss, toxic chemicals and pesticides, and climate change, it’s important for local communities to step up to do their part to protect and restore habitats.”

In the 40 years since the Community Wildlife Habitat  program’s inception, 127 communities have been recognized. There are more than 200,000 certified habitats nationwide, and guidelines to create your own backyard garden habitat can be found at nwf.org/garden.

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