The National Wildlife Federation recently released the top 10 cities that have the strongest commitment to their local wildlife. Austin, Texas ranked number one.
National Wildlife Week is this week and to celebrate, The National Wildlife Federation compiled a list of the Top 10 Cities for Wildlife. These are cities that have the most dedicated inhabitants to protecting their local wildlife and have made the strongest conservation efforts. Austin, Texas ranked number one.
The criteria for this list included the percentage of parkland, citizen action to create wildlife habitat, and outdoor education in schools. Austin is a rapidly growing city but if you take a walk by the Colorado River or on the Greenbelt near Barton Springs, you can see plenty of thriving wilderness. Austin also boasts the Congress Avenue Bridge that houses 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats, the world's largest urban bat colony. The local Wildlife Austin program is dedicated to preserving the wildlife around the city and hosts many conservation events, ensuring that Austinites are engaged with their wild surroundings. Austin also happens to be in the monarch corridor which means it is in the migratory pathway for birds and monarch butterflies. Finally, it boasts the most parks, or Certified Wildlife Habitats, per capita.
President and Chief Executive Collin O'Mara commended all the cities that made the list, saying;
The common thread between these cities is that citizens are coming together for a common purpose - to create a community where people and wildlife can thrive.
The full list is as follows:
1. Austin, Texas
2. Portland, Oregon
3. Atlanta, Georgia
4. Baltimore, Maryland
5. Washington, District of Columbia
6. Seattle, Washington
7. Albuquerque, New Mexico
8. Indianapolis, Indiana
9. Charlotte, North Carolina
10. New York City, New York
These bustling metropolises are doing the best in balancing their rapid growth and population with the nature around them. That is essentially the theme of the 77th Annual National Wildlife Week, "Living with Wildlife." The National Wildlife Federation provides educational material for teachers and families to use for wildlife education pertaining to the theme of the year's wildlife week.
The threats to the natural world around us are increasing daily and NWF is a powerful organization that promotes habitat protection and wildlife education. As we continue our sustainability and conservation efforts in this country, it is refreshing to see urban areas do their parts.
As an Austinite, I personally attest to the efforts of the Austin area when it comes to wildlife conservation. There was a coyote on my porch in the Barton Creek Greenbelt just this morning, and though they can be a nuisance, I still appreciated the fact that we could coexist.