Matthews Naturally seeks to certify houses, businesses and more
by Kara Lopp
Does your home or business have what it takes to be certified as a wildlife habitat? A group of active volunteers in Matthews are eager to help you find out.
Through these volunteers, the town is well on its way to earning the coveted Community Wildlife Habitat designation from the National Wildlife Federation. The local program, Matthews Naturally, needs homeowners, business owners, churches and schools to step up and have their properties certified.
To become a certified community, Matthews needs to log a minimum of 150 houses, five schools and five other public places as certified by the federation’s guidelines for animals: food, water, shelter and places to raise young. Eligible locations need a mailing address with a 28105, 28104 or 28106 zip code. Becoming certified costs $20, paid to the federation, and signs can be purchased for an additional fee.
Though nonprofit Blessed Assurance Adult Day Care is in Mint Hill, Executive Director Nate Huggins said the agency is excited to have recently become a certified location. Blessed Assurance has a Matthews 28105 mailing address.
“I think this is great for our community. The natural habitat has already attracted a variety of species of birds and our senior and disabled adults have been intrigued by the tremendous activity generated by this program,” he said. “This is definitely a plus for our community and its wildlife.”
Matthews currently has about 130 homes certified. The Brightmoor subdivision is in the lead, with 16 certified habitats. That number, though, pales in comparison to the total number of homes in the subdivision off Pleasant Plains Road – about 500, Foster said.
“Ideally, we want them sprouting like weeds all over Matthews,” she said. “Let us help you see what you have before you go out and buy stuff” to be certified.
Butler High School, Crestdale Middle School, the Levine Senior Center and Matthews’ Central Piedmont Community College Levine Campus are already certified as well as the Animal Care Hospital of Matthews and the Matthews Woman’s Club. Four Mile Creek Greenway in Matthews is among the most recent additions and joins Matthews’ Squirrel Lake and Windsor parks. Plans are in the work to certify KP Park as well.
Want to get certified?
To see if your home, business, school or place of worship can be certified as a wildlife habitat, call Debbie Foster at 704-841-1372 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information or to certify your property, visit www.nwf.org/gardenforwildlife.