Certified Wildlife Habitats

Garden for Wildlife: Certified Wildlife Habitats

The Association of Northwest Steelheaders is teaming up with National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife program to transform backyards, school grounds, places of worship, businesses, and community spaces into Certified Wildlife Habitats across Oregon. Since 1973, the Garden for Wildlife program has been empowering people to transform their piece of earth, whether large or small, urban or rural, into habitat for local pollinators, birds, and other wildlife. Together we recognize that every habitat garden is a step toward replenishing resources for wildlife locally and throughout Oregon’s forests and watersheds.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Northwest Steelheaders love to fish, but we also want to protect the resource long into the future. Strong salmon and steelhead runs depend on cold, clean water that flows through healthy forests. And because anglers spend a lot of time on the rivers; we see the adverse effects of pollution, runoff, and high water temperatures on salmon health. Creating habitats and planting native species in our yards and community areas has positive effects downstream by preventing soil erosion and reducing runoff into our watersheds. Everything runs to the river!

What is a Certified Wildlife Habitat?

A certified wildlife habitat uses sustainable gardening practices to provide food, water, cover, places to raise young for local wildlife. There are over 3,000 Certified Wildlife Habitats in Oregon and growing!

Wildlife aren’t the only ones who benefit from the Garden for Wildlife Program. When you certify, you will become a member of NWF’s Garden for Wildlife community and receive various benefits.

A portion of your $20 application processing fee supports the Association of Northwest Steelheaders and the National Wildlife Federation’s programs to inspire others to make a difference and address declining habitat for bees, butterflies, birds, amphibians and other wildlife downstream like salmon. The fee is waived for schools Pre-K to Grade 12. We encourage you to purchase and proudly display a Certified Wildlife Habitat sign with the Association of Northwest Steelheaders logo to inspire your friends, family, and neighbors to create their own Garden for Wildlife.

Creating your Wildlife Habitat

To certify, habitat must provide food, water, cover, and places to raise young while using sustainable gardening practices. There is an easy checklist to use to see what your yard already provides for wildlife. If you are ready to certify, you can do so online or download the brochure application to mail it in.

FoodPlant native plants to provide food sources throughout the four seasons for small animals like birds, pollinators, and squirrels. Supplement when needed.

WaterAll animals need water to survive and some need it for bathing or breeding.

CoverWildlife need places to find shelter from bad weather and to hide from predators.

Places to Raise YoungWildlife use secure places to raise their young, such as nests for birds, nooks and crannies in rocks, and brush piles.

Sustainable PracticesThe things you do in your home, garage, and yard can affect the health of the soil, air, water, and habitat.

Does your space already provide these elements in your wildlife garden? Certify your garden today!

If you are creating a new garden, design it with wildlife in mind! Get more information on creating your habitat garden at National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife website.

Local Resources


How to Protect Birds in Your Backyard – Audubon Society

Living With Wildlife – Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife


Native Plants of the Willamette Valley – Metro Regional Government

Invasive Plants of the Portland Area – East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District

Bosky Dell Natives – A native plant nursery in West Linn

Audubon Society Annual Native Plant Sale – Portland Audubon Society

List of local sources of native plants – Clean Water Services


Water Conservation Tips – East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District

Guide to Oregon’s Forest Wildlife – Oregon State University Extension Services

Salmon Friendly Garden – Snohomish County

Streamside landowners – East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District

Backyard Habitat Certification Program – Portland Audubon Society

Ash Creek Forest Management – Forestry and habitat design firm

Parting with Pesticides – Clackamas River Basin Council

Guide to Priority Plant and Animal Species in Oregon Forests – The Oregon Forest Research Institute


May is Garden for Wildlife Month

Mayor’s Monarch Pledge

Butterfly Heroes Campaign

Million Pollinator Garden Challenge