ROSWELL, Ga. – Residents driving through Roswell in the near future may notice a few new signs up at the entrances to the city – they proclaim Roswell as the newest Certified Wildlife Habitat Community.
As the third such city in Georgia and only the 66th in the country, attaining such a title from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is not easy.
About two dozen people gathered at the ceremony April 20 at the pavilion of the Smith Plantation, itself a certified wildlife habitat.
“This is a milestone in our city’s life,” said Councilwoman Betty Price. “It’s a calling from God to be the stewards of the environment and to protect what God has given us.”
Councilman Kent Igleheart agreed.
“Roswell has always been a leader in the environment,” he said.
Roswell’s push came largely from the city and Keep Roswell Beautiful, as well as local civic groups.
“Roswell is an easy place to do this,” said Shirlee Wiener, of the Martin’s Landing Garden Club. “There are lots of trees and habitats. We are very proud to be part of the [Habitat] program.”
While city governments can make improvements to help rack up points, certification requires a hefty number of homeowners to take up the challenge as well.
“It’s very important because it intensifies and expands the efforts for the wildlife,” said Na’Taki Osborne Jelks, manager of education and advocacy programs with the National Wildlife Federation’s Atlanta office. “There is so much fragmentation – from building shopping centers to houses – this is a way for the community to rally together and help close some of those gaps.”
Twelve parks were certified throughout the city, 225 homes, 11 schools, one farm and the Chattahoochee Nature Center.
For more about how to make a home a certified wildlife habitat, visit www.nwf.org/Home/How-to-Help/Garden-for-Wildlife.aspx.