Home & Garden

Charlotte is ‘Top 10’ for protecting wildlife

More than 900 homes, schoolyards and other properties in Charlotte have been certified as wildlife habitats. These are places that provide shelter, food and water for birds and other creatures.

With so many places certified here, the National Wildlife Federation certified Charlotte as a community wildlife habitat, according to the federation’s local chapter, called CROWN (Charlotte, Reconnecting Ourselves With Nature).

Charlotte is also on the national federation’s list of Top 10 Cities for Wildlife 2015.

That’s notable for an urban area where skyward apartment buildings, national supermarkets and retail shops are more likely the goal for builders.

It all started here with Wan and Edwin Marsh, whose home in Madison Park was certified in 1987. When you see their backyard, you understand immediately why it inspires others to value or create landscapes that soften and beautify the patches of land around hard-edged urban structures. Green landscapes also help keep water and air clean.

There are birdhouses, birdbaths and at least one small fountain tucked in among their flowers, shrubs and trees. Those elements make it a welcoming place for birds, owls, the racoons living in a cedar tree and for other species.

“Not only is it a sanctuary for wildlife, it’s a sanctuary for humans,” Wan Marsh said. “I need it for myself as much as the birds and the animals. I need it for my well-being.”

Karen’s blog: charlotteobserver.com/living/home-garden/smarter-living/homelife-blog/; on Twitter @sullivan_kms. See earlier Homelife columns at homelifeclt.blogspot.com.