Slaughter Beach Registers Community Wildlife Habitat

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Photo recovered from Slaughter Beach Ecological Environment Project Facebook Page.
Photo recovered from Slaughter Beach Ecological Environment Project Facebook Page.

Staff Report

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and Delaware Nature Society announce that the community of Slaughter Beach, Delaware is putting out the welcome mat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife, by recently registering its Community Wildlife Habitat™ project with NWF. Slaughter Beach is sending a clear and powerful message to communities all over America that caring people, working together, can help wildlife, wild places and the health of the environment.

The Town of Slaughter Beach was founded in 1681 and incorporated in 1931. A Horseshoe Crab Sanctuary since 2004, their town on the Delaware Bay beachfront hosts thousands of breeding horseshoe crabs, migrating shorebirds and school students each spring.  Cradled by the salt marshes of Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Milford Neck Wildlife Area and Delaware Nature Society’s Marvel Tract, Slaughter Beach residents are self-proclaimed enthusiastic caretakers of this nursery for marine life and the dune system that provides natural protection. In May and June Horseshoe Crabs come ashore to spawn. Slaughter Beach is one of the highest spawning areas in the world. After a very long flight, migratory shorebirds including Red Knots return in the spring looking for the fine dining our beach provides, horseshoe crab eggs. The NWF certification allows residents to continue to contribute to the established and honored commitment between Slaughter Beach and the environment.

Since 1973, NWF has provided millions of people with the basic guidelines for making their landscapes more hospitable for wildlife.  To date, through the Certified Wildlife Habitat™ program, NWF has certified more than 160,000 sites including yards, schools, businesses, community gardens, parks, and places of worship.  Each of these sites provides the four basic elements that all wildlife need to thrive:  food, water, cover and places to raise young.

To date NWF has certified 81 entire communities.  Slaughter Beach is working to become part of this distinguished group. A Community Wildlife Habitat project brings people together for a common purpose – to create a community where people, flora and fauna can flourish.  Slaughter Beach’s action plan includes a long-term commitment to citizen education about providing habitat for wildlife and employing sustainable gardening practices.  These practices include reducing or eliminating the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, conserving water, planting native plants, removing invasive plants and composting.  Their goal is to certify at least thirty homes, ­­­­­one educational area, and three open spaces.

For more information on becoming involved in Slaughter Beach’s efforts to become a certified Community Wildlife Habitat, individuals can contact Bill McSpadden at slaughterbeep@comcast.net.  To get started on gardening for wildlife adventure, people are encouraged to visit NWF’s website at www.nwf.org/gardenforwildlife.  The site offers access to continually-updated information and resources for habitat projects, along with a wealth of other information on wildlife and wild places, and how to help protect these precious natural resources.

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