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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Backyard Habitat Certification Program Expands into Gresham and Fairview

Residents and groups with private yards can start registering for the program Wednesday, Nov. 19

The Backyard Habitat Certification Program, a partnership of the Audubon Society of Portland and Columbia Land Trust, is proud to announce its expansion into the cities of Gresham and Fairview. The program provides technical assistance, advice, and incentives to residents who want to improve wildlife habitat in their yards, control invasive weeds, and garden sustainably.

Backyard Habitat Certification Program Expands into Gresham and Fairview

A Backyard Habitat Certification sign, proudly displayed in front of a certified habitat, educates neighbors and passers-by. Photo courtesy of Columbia Land Trust.

Nov 17, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Backyard Habitat Certification Program, a partnership of the Audubon Society of Portland and Columbia Land Trust, is proud to announce its expansion into the cities of Gresham and Fairview. The program provides technical assistance, advice, and incentives to residents who want to improve wildlife habitat in their yards, control invasive weeds, and garden sustainably.

"I am so pleased this program has expanded into Gresham," said Gresham City Council President Lori Stegmann. "Gresham has long valued its wildlife and green spaces, from rare turtles and spawning salmon to scenic buttes and rich wetlands. 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 the City and its valued partners, we’re leveraging our resources to better serve the community and support sustainability.”

The Backyard Habitat Certification Program is offered to private residences as well as schools, public institutions, and businesses – any place with a yard. 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. Recommendations are tailored to each participant’s yard and interests. 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.

“Just one yard may not seem like much when it comes to protecting habitat, but 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,” said Nikkie West, Backyard Habitat Program Coordinator for the Audubon Society of Portland. “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, and is now available to Gresham and Fairview residents. It fosters environmental stewardship by empowering participants to become urban conservationists and to preserve important wildlife habitat. 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.

“We believe that the best way to conserve nature is through our relationships with the communities we serve,” said Gaylen Beatty, Backyard Habitat Program Manager for Columbia Land Trust. “Nature is not dependent upon racial, economic, or social demographics; it can enter our lives in parks, schools and backyards. We can care for and support the vital lands, waters, and wildlife in our region by understanding how our own yards play a vital role in broader conservation work.”

For more information, visit www.backyardhabitats.org.

More about the Audubon Society of Portland
Founded in 1902, the Audubon Society of Portland is one of the oldest conservation organizations in the nation. It promotes the understanding, enjoyment and protection of native birds, other wildlife and their habitats through its conservation and environmental education programs, its 150-acre Nature Sanctuary and Nature Store in northwest Portland, and its Wildlife Care Center. For more information, call 503-292-6855 or visit www.audubonportland.org.

More about Columbia Land Trust
The mission of Columbia Land Trust is to conserve and care for vital lands, waters, and wildlife of the Columbia River region. Since 1990, the Land Trust has conserved 24,000 acres of natural areas, farm and ranchlands, forests and critical habitat in the Pacific Northwest. Collaborating with ranchers, farmers, orchardists, conservationists, foresters, public agencies, and individuals who share a commitment to our region’s precious resources and landscapes, Columbia Land Trust is committed to conserving the Northwest you love. To learn more, visit www.columbialandtrust.org or call 360-696-0131.

More about the City of Gresham’s Green Initiatives
Incorporated in 1905, The City of Gresham is Oregon’s fourth-largest city and the second largest in the Portland metropolitan area. Gresham has a diverse population of more than 105,000, and is rich in natural resources, including 940 acres of open space, 300 acres of parkland, and 10 miles of trails. Gresham is a leader in sustainability, evidenced by projects such as its award-winning net-zero wastewater treatment plant. For more information, visit www.greshamoregon.gov.

Media contacts
Nikkie West
, Backyard Habitat Program Coordinator | Audubon Society of Portland | 503-292-6855
Gaylen Beatty, Backyard Habitat Program Manager | Columbia Land Trust | 503-841-5918
Wendy Lawton, Communications Manager | City of Gresham | 503-793-4167

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