How did Alpine, California become the nation’s first certified Community Wildlife Habitat? It all started in the late 1990s with Maureen Austin, an avid gardener and the founder of C.H.I.R.P. (Center to Help Instill Respect for Garden Wildlife, Inc.). She encouraged the Alpine community to create wildlife habitats in their home gardens and places of business. One by one, residents began sending in their applications to have their gardens certified by the National Wildlife Federation, and in no time at all, Alpine had more Certified Wildlife Habitat® gardens than any other city in the country.
On May 1, 1998, the National Wildlife Federation designated Alpine as “America’s First Community Wildlife Habitat.” Thanks to Ms. Austin’s efforts, there are nearly 200 Certified Wildlife Habitats® throughout Alpine, and this number continues to grow as each property owner does their small part to benefit the community and wildlife. All one needs to do to create a Certified Wildlife Habitat® is to supply water, food, cover and a place for wildlife to raise their young.
Tom and Judy Myers took over for Ms. Austin. Photo by Alpine CWH program
Ms. Austin’s family moved away from Alpine last year, so the Alpine Historical and Conservation Society (AHCS) now coordinates the Community Wildlife Habitat program. One of their goals is to promote habitat development and encourage even more Alpine residents to certify their gardens.
The AHCS received its wildlife habitat certification in March 1998, and this year members have created a wildlife habitat garden exhibit at their museum, the John Dewitt Historic Museum and Library. Tom and Judy Myers created the habitat garden plan, focused on drought-tolerant native species, and volunteers Helen Porter, Babs Rosenberg, Baltazar Marquez and Carlette Anderson helped with the planting.KEEP READING