Carmen Faucon, Project Lead
Several years ago, I had registered my yard with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) as a Certified Wildlife Habitat. In September of 2021, (probably in part because of the NWF sign) my yard was one of those selected to be on the Bisbee Bloomer’s Garden tour.
This garden tour is a big deal in Bisbee and brings in revenue to help with beautification efforts of local parks and common areas in Bisbee. So, being a retired educator, I thought; how can I get the public to walk away from my yard armed with vital information, knowing more about wildlife habitats and their significance to our urban environments?
Fortunately I knew someone with the Arizona Wildlife Federation who would be able to add that “personal touch” to make this project memorable. I contacted the AWF for assistance with magazines and informative articles to be available for the public. The real “brainstorm” was asking Valerie Morrill, Director At Large, for the AWF to come down for the garden tour dressed the part as a field biologist with name tag, vest, boots, butterfly net and binoculars and prepared to tackle the public head on. Tackle the public “head on” she did! Lines formed where she was stationed as the public thirsted to know more about wildlife habitats, plants, pollinators…and what they could do to make their yards more wildlife friendly. In June, 2022 Valerie again came down to Bisbee to present a class on “Gardening for Wildlife” hosted by the Bisbee Science and Research Lab.
As a result of these efforts, interest has ballooned exponentially with Bisbee residents wanting to brand our town as a Community Wildlife Habitat with the NWF. In fact for 2023, tentative plans have been made for a Bisbee Bloomer’s Wildlife Habitat Tour to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the AWF.
Certifying the City of Bisbee as a Community Wildlife Habitat has been no small undertaking. A committee (PROJECT WILDLIFE: Bisbee), local commitment, grants and sponsors have had to be sought. The project is an easy “sell”, but our greatest roadblock as a small grass roots organization was accessing monies from grants to implement this project. Well, once again, the AWF has come to our rescue by simplifying the process as a fiscal manager for awarded grants. And of course, along with their support comes their name recognition and a testimonial to our efforts protecting flora and fauna.
Thank you AWF, for partnering with us in the effort conserving Arizona's wildlife, wild places, and public lands.
PROJECT WILDLIFE: Bisbee