The City of Evanston continued its long history of environmental stewardship by becoming the first Illinois city to achieve certification as a Community Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).

Natural Habitat Evanston, a program of Citizens’ Greener Evanston, led the citywide effort to earn the certification, helping to achieve one of the goals set by the City’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan (CARP).

“Creating and preserving habitat for birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators strengthens our ecosystem and creates healthier communities for all,” said Mayor Stephen Hagerty. “I’m proud of our city’s collective efforts to achieve this important designation and our continued leadership on environmental issues.”

The NWF’s Community Wildlife Habitat program partners with cities, towns, counties, neighborhoods and communities to become healthier, greener and more wildlife-friendly. Community Wildlife Habitats garden and landscape with wildlife in mind, promote the use of native trees and plants, work to reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides and chemicals, and integrate wildlife-friendly practices into sustainability plans and park master plans.

Communities achieve certification by conducting community outreach and education and by certifying individual private and public properties as wildlife habitats. Evanston properties certified as wildlife habitats can be found on Citizens’ Greener Evanston’s EcoHub map. (View photos of Evanston certified wildlife habitats.)

The City will celebrate its Community Wildlife Habitat certification at the Oaktober Festival on Saturday, October 5 at the Evanston Ecology Center. Event details will be announced at a later date.

Evanston is the first Illinois city and the second community in the state to be certified as a Community Wildlife Habitat. The Galena Territory residential/resort community has also achieved certification. Other cities in Illinois, including Chicago and Wilmette, are currently working towards certification.

To learn more about the NWF’s certification program, visit or call 800-822-9919.

NWF was founded in 1936 and is one of the nation’s largest conservation organizations. NWF has recognized more than 222,000 properties as Certified Wildlife Habitats nationally and currently partners with 200 municipalities and communities through the Community Wildlife Habitat program. 

For more information about City of Evanston climate and sustainability initiatives, please call/text 847-448-4311. For convenience, residents may simply dial 3-1-1 in Evanston.