Whidbey welcomes wildlife and earns award

Whidbey Island has been certified by the National Wildlife Federation as the 57th Community Wildlife Habitat in the nation and the 14th community in Washington state to receive this honor.

Lydia Sikes, leader of the Whidbey Island Community Wildlife Habitat team, presented the award at the Feb. 21 Oak Harbor City Council meeting.

The Whidbey Island Community Wildlife Habitat team is partnered with Whidbey Audubon Society, Whidbey Watershed Stewards and Friends of Freeland.

“The project began as an Oak Harbor project by Susan Horton, former Island County Noxious Weeds program coordinator, and Boy Scout Troop 144,” Sikes said. “Then I took over the helm and expanded the project islandwide.”

The Community Wildlife Habitat program encourages communities to provide habitat for wildlife. Community members also commit to sustainable gardening practices such as reducing or eliminating chemical fertilizers and pesticides, conserving water, composting, planting native species and removing invasive plants.

On Whidbey Island, 292 homes, five schools, five farms, four businesses, four parks and one place of worship are certified. The project’s continuing goal is to reach 500 individual certifications.

There will be an islandwide Backyard Habitat Fair on June 2 at Freeland Park and Freeland Hall to celebrate. The community is invited.

For more information, call 360-632-3406 or visit



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