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Birds, be happy: Backyard habitat program expands to Gresham and Fairview

By Homes & Gardens of the Northwest staff
The Oregonian

The Backyard Habitat Certification Program helps people who want to encourage wildlife, control invasive weeds and garden sustainably at home.

Birds, be happy: Backyard habitat program expands to Gresham and Fairview

Nikkie West, Backyard Habitat Certification Program manager for the Audubon Society of Portland, applies a sticker to Metro Councilor and Gresham resident Shirley Craddick's sign indicating a silver certification level. Photo by Tinsley Hunsdorfer.

The Backyard Habitat Certification Program helps people who want to encourage wildlife, control invasive weeds and garden sustainably at home.

The program, a partnership of the Audubon Society of Portland and Columbia Land Trust, will be available to Gresham and Fairview residents, schools, public institutions and businesses starting Wednesday, Nov. 19.

"Gresham has long valued its wildlife and green spaces, from rare turtles and spawning salmon to scenic buttes and rich wetlands," Gresham City Council President Lori Stegmann said in a news release. "Our residents now have an opportunity to receive expert advice from Audubon and Columbia Land Trust, giving them a way to have a direct and positive impact on the environment."

For $25, Backyard Technicians will visit participants' yards to identify invasive weeds and suggest beneficial native plants and other features that will attract and support birds and other wildlife. Apply at backyardhabitats.org/apply/

Participants also receive 10 free native plants and other perks such as discounted prices on native plants, coupons to local garden centers, follow-up technical assistance, and certification signs to display in their yard.

"There are more than 2,500 urban and suburban yards in this program, and together they make a real difference for our region's wildlife," Nikkie West, Backyard Habitat Program coordinator for the Audubon Society of Portland stated in a news release. "Through this program, every yard and every gardener can play a meaningful role in revitalizing our region for birds, pollinators, and other wildlife."

The Audubon Society of Portland and Columbia Land Trust have co-managed the Backyard Habitat Certification Program since 2009.

The program originally began in the City of Portland, but expanded into Lake Oswego in 2011.

The City of Gresham has operated a similar habitat certification program through the National Wildlife Federation. This new partnership increases service by providing a full-time technician to the area, and the program is also tailored to local ecosystems.

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