Bluffton residents Dave and Glenda Harris have been notified that they “successfully created an official Certified Wildlife Habitat site” in their backyard.

In a press release dated April 17, the National Wildlife Federation acknowledged the Harrises “personal action on behalf of wildlife.”

“Being outside is a great joy and source of relaxation for me,” said Glenda Harris. “There is much to see here in the Lowcountry, with deer, wild turkey, songbirds, sea birds, birds of prey, and creating a haven that attracts and supports the habitat of our native wildlife is a win-win.”

The Harrises live in Baynard Park, a gated community off Hampton Parkway. Harris said their home backs up to a thickly forested area.

“We have two separate natural areas with mulch and straw and thick bushes which can provide cover for nesting birds or burrowing spaces for rabbits,” Harris said. “We routinely see a family of deer (seven to nine at a time usually) in the woods behind our house, as well as wild turkeys and, of course, gray squirrels are plentiful.”

The Harris’s habitat includes trees with berries, nuts and pollen, as well as bottlebrush plants to attract butterflies. Among the multiple bird feeders and a birdbath is a 12-foot-high red barn birdhouse for Eastern Bluebirds.

The NWF celebrates the efforts to create a garden space that improves habitat for birds, butterflies, frogs and other wildlife by providing essential elements needed by all wildlife – natural food sources, clean water, cover and places to raise young.

“Providing a home for wildlife in our communities – whether it’s at home, or in schools businesses or parks – is the demonstration of a healthy and active eco-system,” said David Mizejewski, naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. “There is no more rewarding way to stay connected to nature right outside your door.”

Harris said she gets excited about the great outdoors, wildlife and gardening. “I would encourage everyone to create your own backyard wildlife habitat,” she said.

“Even if there are no woods nearby, anyone can attract birds with feeders and bird baths can be placed near trees or in natural areas,” Harris said. “Also, anyone anywhere can plant milkweed, which will attract the Monarch butterfly.”

She also suggested planting jasmine, honeysuckle and Mexican Heather to attract honeybees and butterflies.

For more information on how to become certified, visit habitat or call 1-800-822-9919.