Scientist Doug Tallamy proposes a “Homegrown National Park” where we can all help to create part of the vast landscape of ecosystems needed to keep our water and air clean, our farms and forests producing, and to help our birds, insects and wildlife come back from steep declines in recent years. Over 165 million acres in this country are devoted to our neighborhoods, towns, and lands where we live and work. Implementing healthy conservation practices around our homes will create an environment where birds, butterflies and other creatures can shelter, find food, raise young and migrate. If we have a larger property, the way we manage our farm fields, pastures, edges, landscaped areas and woodlands can make a great difference in having a connected, healthy ecosystem that ultimately keeps the land resilient and functional.
Our Certification Program for Conservation Landscapes will help you implement practices we recommend in a systematic way, with guidance and ideas from our staff and one-on-one help on your property. It is also a chance to measure your progress and share ideas and practices with your neighbors, friends and family. Waldo County residents who complete our Conservation Landscape Certification receive a certificate and document that can support other conservation work they are doing, such as working with the NRCS or state agencies. You can post our sign indicating your property is certified, which is a great way to start conversations with others about your efforts. Certified conservationists will be recognized in our annual journal and at our annual meeting. But it’s likely your own immediate reward will be the chance to watch birds and wildlife inhabiting your land, feeding, and raising young, and seeing beautiful changes in the landscape.
How to Certify Your Property as a Conservation Landscape
There is no pass/fail in our certification, and the certification is free. You can mark your success as you move towards full certification, and even achieve designation as a Master Conservationist. You can simply check off practices, and be certified as soon as you implement the basic core criteria, or you can optionally add up points to measure your progress or work toward the Master level.
There are 3 types of certificates, and you can choose the checklist that fits your property size and use. The checklists can be combined. The five core criteria are the same for each type of certificate, with individual practices for each criteria changing based on your land use type. During our Pilot Program in spring of 2020, Residential and Forest certifications may be completed. We would like to ask for feedback from participants during this phase as a part of your participation.
For ideas and information on creating a conservation landscape visit our Resources Page on Eco Landscaping/Conservation Land Management
Three Types of Conservation Landscape Certificates
1. Residential / Small Mixed Use (also for schools) – available now
2. Forested Lands – available April 25, 2020
3. Agricultural / Mixed Use – available spring 2021
Aspiring Certified Conservation Landscape (CCL) CCL -Master Conservationist
1. Download the Certification Checklist appropriate for your property. You can complete more than one type of checklist if needed for your application, for example if you have a yard but also a woodland. If you have 3 or more elements, plus required practices, on your property for each Core Criteria, you can check that number off on your checklist. The digital version of the checklist is in Microsoft Word, and has interactive checkboxes. You can also print your checklist and fill it out.
2. Fill out your checklist while looking at your property and while implementing conservation practices and creating landscape elements. While walking your land, ideally with family members or friends to help you observe, check off the landscape elements/practices you have on the checklist. Please feel free to schedule a time to do this with our staff visiting your property if you’d like more assistance. You might submit it immediately after walking the property and making observations, or fill it out over one or more seasons as you implement the practices.
3. You can submit your checklist to us by email attachment, or mail in your checklist. The checklist itself serves as your application. Keep a copy of it with your notes for use at home. Photos may be submitted as well. You can submit your application at any level including if you are just beginning practices and are at the Aspiring level. You can submit at the Aspiring Level each year to document your progress.
(Fill out contact form and indicate that you are submitting an application for land certification, then upload your checklist)
4. We will contact you to schedule a visit to your property by our staff to review the checklist items. This can be done during an initial visit while you are doing the checklist if you’d like. If the Core Criteria are met, you will receive your certification certificate and document. You can purchase a sign for your property if you would like. If you are at the Aspiring level, we can visit your property as well to offer suggestions, discuss your plans and look over your progress if requested.
Mail certification applications to:
Waldo County SWCD
46 Little River Dr.
Belfast, ME 04915
Questions? Call Aleta at 855-884-2284, or contact her by email.