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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Submit Entries in the Charlotte Region for Wildlife Habitat Certification

The all-volunteer Charlotte Wildlife Stewards (CWS), the Charlotte Chapter of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation (NCWF), invites submission of entries of properties to be certified as wildlife habitats by the National Wildlife Federation. Opportunities are open to any property and can be located anywhere and include residential properties, business campuses, schools, places of worship, parks and more.  

Applicants do not need to own the property to pursue having it certified although working with the property owner is suggested. 

“Charlotte can be both economically strong and provide high-quality landscapes for local wildlife to thrive,” says Ernie McLaney, a Charlotte native and co-founder of CWS. “It’s a very positive thing for all of us.”

Since 1973, the National Wildlife Federation certification process has been ongoing. Charlotte now averages adding about two new wildlife habitats each week. Charlotte is one of the Top Ten Cities for Wildlife as reported by the National Wildlife Federation.

By 2013, when the area chapter began, Charlotte had certified about 829 properties. Today, it’s more than 1,470. 

“This is a little known, yet priceless jewel about Charlotte,” says McLaney, a certified Wildlife Habitat Steward, a Master Naturalist and a volunteer with NCWF since 2007. “We should all be proud of this unique and positive quality.”

He adds, “People and businesses look in part, for evidence of sustainable growth and responsible use of natural resources when considering a move to this area. Growth should not solely be measured by GNP, population and Fortune 500 companies located here. Quality of life (for all living things) is becoming more crucial as we consider the long-term effects of development on human health. A more natural landscape is not only better for the environment, it’s better for our pets, our family and the future of our city. Multiple global studies indicate human health benefits associated with a connection to nature.”

Certification means less chemicals, more native plants, less turf and a more sustainable, natural ecosystem, creating more trees, flowers, pollinators, songbirds and other opportunities to connect with nature. Certification enhances habitat far beyond property lines. By transforming our landscapes, providing food, water, cover and places to enhance healthy gardening practices, we can offset what has been lost to development. Landscapes don’t need to be perfect; most properties already qualify for certification and are ready to be added to the official wildlife habitat count.

Cost to engage in certification process: $20. NCWF location: 1346 Saint Julien St., Charlotte. For more information including criteria of certification by the National Wildlife Federation, call 704-332-5696, email [email protected] or visit Also visit or

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