Certification Process

Please join us on this project by certifying your backyard today. The process of getting certified is easy; it’s quick and it’s fun.

Here’s what you need:

The basic elements of a backyard wildlife habitat are:

  1. Food
  2. Water
  3. Cover
  4.  Places for Wildlife to Raise their Young
  5. Sustainable Gardening Practices (reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides)

The Food element can include plants that provide nectar, pollen, sap, seeds or berries as well as feeders. You need a minimum of three Food sources for your yard to qualify as a Wildlife Habitat.

The Water element can include, among others, a pond, stream, wetland, water garden, or a birdbath. Your backyard needs one Water element to qualify.

The Cover and Places for Wildlife to Raise their Young elements often overlap and can include shrubs, woodpiles, stone walls, a water garden, as well as nesting boxes, wooded areas, and evergreens. You need at least two of each of these elements for certification.

Maintaining your landscape in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly way ensures that the soil, air, and water that native wildlife (and people) rely upon stay clean and healthy.

You need to employ Sustainable Gardening Practices from at least two of the three categories below. To better help wildlife, we advocate using one or more practices from each category.

  • Soil and Water Conservation: Riparian Buffer • Capture Rain Water from Roof • Xeriscape (water-wise landscaping) • Drip or Soaker Hose for Irrigation • Limit Water Use • Reduce Erosion (i.e. ground cover, terraces) • Use Mulch • Rain Garden
  • Controlling Exotic Species: Practice Integrated Pest Management • Remove Non-Native Plants and Animals • Use Native Plants • Reduce Lawn Areas
  • Organic Practices: Eliminate Chemical Pesticides • Eliminate Chemical Fertilizers • Compost

For more information: Garden for Wildlife/Certify

You’ll likely find that your yard already contains many, if not all of the elements needed to qualify.

When you apply for the basic certification through the National Wildlife Federation, for the $20 fee, you will become a member of NWF’s Garden for Wildlife community and receive the following benefits:

  • A personalized certificate that recognizes your NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat™.
  • Subscription to the NWF e-newsletter, Garden for Wildlife
  • A one-year membership in the National Wildlife Federation and subscription to National Wildlife® Magazine
  • 10% off the National Wildlife Federation Catalog merchandise, including nesting boxes, feeders, birdbaths and other items to enhance your wildlife garden
  • Exclusive option to purchase attractive garden signs designating your garden as a Certified Wildlife Habitat® with the National Wildlife Federation

Complete the NWF application here . If you’d rather apply by mail, download the application here:

To those of you who already have certified your backyards and to all of you who will, THANK YOU for helping to make Sammamish a wildlife-friendly community.

To certify your yard, you need to provide the following:

Food Sources

  • native plants
  • seeds
  • fruits
  • nuts
  • berries
  • nectar

Water Sources

  • birdbath
  • pond
  • water garden
  • stream


  • thicket
  • roosting box
  • brush pile
  • mature trees

Raise Young

  • dense shrubs
  • vegetation
  • nesting box
  • pond

Sustainable Gardening

  • Use of native plants
  • No or limited use of chemicals