Lake Norman receives wildlife habitat designation
by Staff Writer
Hard work by nature lovers in the Lake Norman area has paid off with the region being named an official Community Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.
Lake Norman is just the third area in North Carolina and the 55th nationally to be designated a Community Wildlife Habitat. For a community, region or town to achieve that status, the federation requires completion of certain requirements by the applicants in areas such as habitat formation, education and documentation of projects.
Driving forces behind the local certification are the Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists, a chapter of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, which is the state arm of the national federation, and the Lake Norman Backyard Wildlife Habitat group.
“We wanted to raise awareness of the wildlife in our communities,” said Don West of the Lake Norman Backyard Wildlife Habitat. “Lake Norman is the largest certified Community Wildlife Habitat in the nation that surrounds a body of water. We achieved certification in just 17 months.”
Towns that contributed to the task of creating and preserving habitats along Lake Norman’s 520 miles of shoreline for creatures with fins, fur, or feathers include Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Denver, Mooresville, Sherrills Ford, Terrell and Troutman.
“We have citizens who have been huge advocates of protecting not only wildlife but our native plants as well,” Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain said. “It’s always an honor to see that others such as the National Wildlife Federation recognize those efforts in the north Mecklenburg towns.”
Cornelius Mayor Jeff Tarte is an advocate for and contributor to the National Wildlife Federation and proud of his town’s role in the Community Wildlife Habitat achievement.
“The citizens of Cornelius are good stewards of Mother Nature,” Tarte said. “It’s part of our community’s identity.”
Efforts to get the Community Wildlife Habitat certification began in April 2009 when members of the Lake Norman group began work that resulted in 330 individual back yards, 10 businesses, 11 school grounds, one church ground, and 10 parks gaining the National Wildlife Certified Wildlife Habitat designation.
To achieve that recognition, a space as small as a backyard must be prepared to provide food, water and a place for animals to raise their young. Other steps can include reducing ground contamination by chemicals such as pesticides. Once the area has been set up, the National Wildlife Federation provides certification signage that can be posted on the property.
“No matter how small the area,” West said. “Wildlife can find it.”
There are 6,200 NWF Wildlife Habitats in North Carolina and 144,000 across the country.
To celebrate the Lake Norman Community Wildlife Habitat certification, a special “Wild Over Lake Norman” dinner will be held Oct. 22 from 5 to 10 p.m. at the North Harbor Club, 100 N. Harbor Place, in Davidson.
A representative from the National Wildlife Federation will attend and recognize Lake Norman residents who were part of the Community Wildlife Habitat effort. Local officials and civic leaders are also scheduled attend.
In addition to the certification ceremonies, there will also be a dinner featuring delicacies ranging from roast salmon with Wasabi peas to chocolate pot de crème. Live music and an auction will also be part of the evening.
The event is limited to 500 people and tickets are $50 per person. Checks can be mailed to P.O. Box 4296, Mooresville, N.C. 28117. For more information, contact Steve Turley at 704-309-0762 or firstname.lastname@example.org.