Audubon at Home Wildlife Sanctuary Program (AAH) helps people create and maintain natural habitat (for birds, amphibians, reptiles and the insects that support them), around their homes and community space. Our own backyards provide an opportunity for conservation, even as natural habitat is decreasing. Key components of the program include conserving water, removing invasive plants, using native plants where appropriate, reducing the use of commercial fertilizers and pesticides, and providing habitat via shelter, water and food.
Interested parties learn more by going to Audubon’s website to complete an online application, then requesting a site visit. An Audubon “Ambassador” will walk with you through your yard looking at ways to enhance its wildlife value. In Arlington County and Alexandria, Arlington Regional Master Naturalists (ARMN) serve as AAH ambassadors and provide site visits to interested parties; Master Gardeners and Virginia Native Plant Society members also perform this role in our surrounding jurisdictions.
Over time, participating households monitor changes in their property and observe the use of their gardens by different species. Once at least 10 sanctuary species, identified from an AAH-provided list of more than 30 key species, have been observed, one’s property can be certified as a Home Wildlife Sanctuary. There’s a nice sign you can choose to purchase for your garden by way of outreach to your neighbors.
Please consider having a site visit to your property, and spending this next year observing how wildlife uses our property. ARMN AAH Ambassadors would love to walk through your yards with you and discuss your habitat enhancement ideas.
Additionally, there are VCE service hours available to a limited number of Master Gardeners who volunteer to accompany ARMN members on site visits and share their expertise. If you’re interested in participating, be in touch with Elizabeth Gearin at firstname.lastname@example.org
, or Joanne Hutton at email@example.com.
For more information about the AAH program, as well as about wildlife species that can be observed in our communities, please see:
The information provided on this page outlines the overall certification procedure:
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