Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Assembly has been named a certified wildlife habitat.
This designation is through the National Wildlife Federation, which rolled out its Garden for Wildlife program in an effort to encourage the planting of gardens that support local wildlife like birds, butterflies, bees and frogs.
Every certified wildlife garden provides natural resources of food, water, cover and place for animals to raise their young and is maintained in a sustainable way that incorporates native plants, conserves water and doesn’t rely on insecticides.
Mark Perhamus, director of facilities for Mo-Ranch said he wanted to work toward the designation as way to acknowledge the work his team has done to maintain the grounds and wildlife that call Mo-Rach home.
“We have four bird watching areas and a number of trails,” he said. “All our plantings have been through a vetting process to make sure they are native and that some of them provide natural food for birds and butterflies.”
Additionally, the maintenance team and groundskeeping staff has methodically removed invasive plants like chinaberry and ligustrum and animals like hogs, Perhamus said.
Other measures including using plumbing fixtures with the lowest gallons per minute possible, transitioning to LED lights and replacing HVAC units with heat pumps, he added.
Mo-Ranch’s 500 acres is home to a number of native plant species like grayfeather, big red sage, milkweed, purple clematis, rock fern, bluebonnets, Texas star hibiscus and scarlet clematis. Examples of native animals include painted lady butterflies, white-tail deer and nine-banded armadillos.
The Garden for Wildlife program is 45 years strong. Since its inception, over 227,000 certified wildlife habitats have been named across the US, covering more than 2.5 million acres.
Examples of certified wildlife gardens are backyard and urban gardens, school grounds, businesses, places of worship, parks, farms and zoos.
“Anyone, anywhere can restore wildlife habitat right in their own yards and communities,” said David Mizejweski, naturalist for NWF. “Whether you garden in a suburban yard, an urban area or a rural plot of land, you can make a difference for local wildlife. Creating a certified wildlife habitat garden is fun, easy and makes a real difference for neighborhood wildlife.”