Neighbors seek Certified Wildlife Habitat designation


One of the things that unites people throughout the Monroe Road corridor is a shared love for the environment. Whether it’s protecting the tree canopy, organizing street and stream cleanups, removing invasives, or marveling at the beauty of plants and animals, neighbors show time and again how much they care about the natural world. 

In August, MoRA attended a meeting alongside neighbors who are interested in designating their properties (and neighborhood) as Certified Wildlife Habitats.

Ernie McLaney organized and led the meeting at the home of one of MoRA’s board members. McLaney founded Charlotte Wildlife Stewards, a local chapter of North Carolina Wildlife Foundation, which has earned many awards and much-deserved recognition for their work to create and protect wildlife. 

Certified Wildlife Habitat in neighborhood

Local residence with Certified Wildlife Habitat designation

Certified Wildlife Habitat

Nearly everyone in attendance had property that meets the 5 criteria to become a Certified Wildlife Habitat:

  1. Food
  2. Water
  3. Cover
  4. Places to raise young
  5. Sustainable practices
Moth on native flower

But this group met with an even bigger goal—to earn certification for their entire neighborhood.

Donna Bolls, President of Charlotte Wildlife Stewards, explained that schools, businesses, places of worship, and neighborhoods can become Certified Wildlife Habitats. As Amber Veverka reported for The Charlotte Ledger

Getting a yard named a wildlife habitat doesn’t mean making dramatic changes, said Stonehaven resident Donna Bolls. On the surface, the Bolls’ yard looks fairly ordinary: graceful trees, mowed lawn, a cheerful golden retriever eyeing passersby. It’s what you don’t see that makes Bolls’ corner lot stand out. 

Instead of perfectly raked beds, leaves are left to decay. The garden boxes don’t contain non-native plants — instead, native species beloved by pollinators thrive. And most important, the property isn’t sprayed with insecticides. Instead, it’s a haven for insects of all kinds, which in turn makes it a welcome oasis for the birds and other creatures.

Corey and Courtney Inscoe

McLaney said the City of Charlotte earned designation in 2015—only one of six cities in the state at that time—but there’s much work to be done. There aren’t many neighborhood-wide designations in Charlotte yet. McLaney and Bolls hope their neighborhood can be a leader.

“If a neighborhood can create enough silos of habitat, eventually the silos connect as a corridor, or a highway for wildlife to travel,” said McLaney.

He went on to describe the additional education and outreach requirements for certifying a neighborhood, and the group came up with a plan. MoRA intends to support these efforts in any way that it can.

Social Pet on Monroe Road

Feeling inspired? Start here:

Stay tuned to MoRA’s social channels and newsletter and this page of our website. We will share about future events like native plant shares, habitat walks, workshops, and more. 

Monroe Road Advocates (MoRA) is grassroots group of volunteers from Monroe Road neighborhoods, businesses, nonprofits, and schools. We’re connecting community in the corridor from Lupie’s/7th Street to NC-51.