Concord becomes an NWF Certified Community Wildlife Habitat™
Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Pictured (L-R): CWA members Mandy Smith-Thompson, Robert Watson, Lynn Tesh, Ian Prince, Glenda Steel, Jerie Anne Schwehm, and Jeff Fink; Mayor Scott Padgett, NCWF Chair John Robbins, Council Member Al Brown, Jr.

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CONCORD – Leading a nationwide trend in community concern for habitat loss, Concord has been officially designated a Community Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). Concord is the 82nd community in the country and the fifth community in North Carolina to receive this honor. A Community Wildlife Habitat project creates multiple habitat areas in backyards, schoolyards, corporate properties, community gardens, parkland, and other spaces.

All NWF-certified communities surpass population-based thresholds of habitat certification, education, community project, and administrative efforts. Concord's certifications included 200 homes; 6 common areas, workplaces, or public spaces; 5 schools; and additional habitats from any property type.

Leaders from the
Concord Wildlife Alliance, the local chapter of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, joined Padgett, Council Member Al Brown, Jr., and City staff members to make the announcement on Earth Day in McGee Park. The park is one of several City-owned properties that were certified in the process.

"This effort began about two years ago, when John Robbins contacted me about the program," said Mayor Scott Padgett. "The Concord City Council was unanimous in their support, and a select group of enthusiastic citizens came together to work with staff on achieving this goal."

Padgett, referring to the Concord Wildlife Alliance, praised the group for their leadership and interest creating long-term quality of life and conservation improvements in Concord.

In a message to City officials, the National Wildlife Federation commended the dedicated residents of Concord and the Concord Wildlife Alliance team for their wildlife conservation efforts and for coming together for a common purpose - to create a community where people and wildlife can flourish. "At a time when communities are faced with the problems of losing habitat to development, Concord stands out as a model for other communities to emulate. The knowledge and inspiration that this project has generated will lead Concord residents and visitors to take better care of their natural world."

Robbins, who is both a local resident and current chair of the NC Wildlife Federation, stressed that this milestone is by no means a finish line, but rather just a starting place. "There is tremendous potential for families, school and church groups, businesses, and others to realize the benefit and enjoyment of fostering and maintaining wildlife habitats," he said. Robbins also encouraged the community, City officials, and the Concord Wildlife Alliance to use this accomplishment as a springboard to other environmental and conservation efforts.

A community celebration of the accomplishment is planned during the May 21
Union Street Live concert, featuring The Tams.

NWF’s Certified Wildlife Habitat program has been helping people take personal action on behalf of wildlife for more than 40 years. As part of NWF’s Garden for Wildlife program, these projects benefit the entire community of plants, wildlife, and people through the creation of sustainable landscapes that require little or no pesticides, fertilizers, and excess watering. Since 1973, NWF has provided millions of people with the basic guidelines for making their landscapes more wildlife-friendly. There are more than 160,000 certified habitats nationwide. For more information, please go to