At Places of Worship

Monarch Butterfly: Bibek Sharma

Since 1973, hundreds of congregations of all denominations have certified their grounds as a Certified Wildlife Habitat®. Wildlife and environmental stewardship are often the motivating factors for creating garden habitats, such as rain gardens, and butterfly gardens that provide food, water, cover, and places to raise young.

Any parish, synagogue, mosque, other place of worship can certify if they provide these basics elements. Examples of faith-based habitats include:

St Mary of Vernon in Indian Creek, Illinois, certified by incorporating native wildflower gardens to replace the invasive weeds and scrub brush that had choked the grounds. As stewards of the earth for their fellow creatures, they are creating the conditions to bring back their habitat.

St. George's Episcopal Church Rochester, New York, certified its 10 acres which includes: a retention pond and bird baths for water sources; oak trees, natural grasses and wildflowers for food; hedges and grasslands for shelter; and trees and bluebird houses for raising young.

Habitat Communities

In Austin, Texas, for example, a Unitarian Church, a Buddhist Meditation Center, a Jewish synagogue, and a Baptist church individually certified along with many other community groups and residences and helped Austin become a Community Wildlife Habitat™.  In Rye, New York, the Wainwright House—a center for spiritual exploration, health, and well-being—and the Community Synagogue of Rye have certified as part of helping their city achieve Community Wildlife Habitat status.

Advancing to Sacred Grounds

In addition, a new program enhances the basic Certified Wildlife Habitat® status and supports these faith communities to go a step further to create a Sacred Grounds™ program, which requires additional elements to engage congregational members to increase their stewardship for wildlife and the environment. These elements include:

  1. Connecting environmental stewardship to faith through service, teaching, or prayer
  2. Educating and Inspiring the Congregation to get involved within the community
  3. Reaching beyond the congregation to encourage communal environmental stewardship regardless of faith

All places of worship are encouraged to help pollinators and other wildlife by incorporating native plants, a water source, and other natural elements to provide cover and places to raise young. Certify today!



Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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