Habitat restoration is critical in urban and suburban settings world wide, where commercial and residential development encroaches on natural wildlife areas. The community hosting Tidewater Builders Association’s Spring Homearama showcase of homes is also working hard to help conserve natural habitat and so are the residents.
Residents of Founders Pointe in Isle of Wight County are working with the developer to establish the community as a certified National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitat through its Nature Watch Program, according to Branch Lawson, president of Hampton Roads Division of East West Communities, which is developing Founders Pointe.
Visitors to Homearama, May 8-23, will not only get to take in eight showcase homes, but they will also get a first-hand look at what the community is doing in the Nature Watch Program.
The main objective of the program is to certify the entire community as a wildlife habitat, which is a long term, multi-step program. Once certified, the National Wildlife Federation will nationally recognize Founders Pointe as a wildlife habitat. Before it can be certified, the community must:
* Achieve a minimum of 50 homes as a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation and register as a Habitat at Home by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
* Maintain wildlife habitat improvement projects such as a Bluebird trail, Purple Martin colony and more.
* Have Nature Watch stewards.
* Establish an educational area to provide tools for the wildlife habitat improvement projects.
* Maintain a volunteer group and host workshops to educate the community on program topics.
* Gather and report data from habitats to various programs.
* Create an outlet for family and neighbor interaction through community participation.
In 2008, the residents kicked off the Founders Pointe Nature Watch Program with a Bluebird Trail Workshop. As a result, 17 bluebird homes were built and installed along the community’s walking paths. A volunteer group maintains the homes, and monitors and collects data, which is reported to the National Bluebird Society.
Additional bluebird houses will be placed in the cul-de-sacs around the neighborhood.
“The bluebird house effort and the designation that the community is pushing for” is a great example of the residents’ efforts, said Lawson. “We also have done things such as building the observation pier and posting along the way pictures of the animals, birds and plants that people will see as they walk on the pier and to give them a greater understanding and appreciation for them.”
As part of the program, Founders Pointe residents volunteer as Nature Watch Stewards. They participate in and support the Nature Watch Program by acting as examples and providing leadership for the community. They also meet throughout the year to share ideas, discuss the progress of the Nature Watch Program and to implement new habitat improvement projects and activities.
The Residents’ Club also serves as a resource center for the program, keeping books on bird identification, native plants and gardening for wildlife and more for residents to use.
Founders Pointe also hosts a purple martin colony adjacent to the Residents Clubhouse.
For more information on the Nature Watch Program at Founders Pointe, visit www.founderspointe.net.
The bluebird houses are just a few of the ideas you can adapt for your home and landscape at Homearama. In addition to the fully furnished and landscaped showcase homes, an Idea Center will offer hundreds of products for the home and garden. It’s open May 8-23, noon until 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
General admission cost $10 for a one-day pass and $17 for a two-day pass. Active duty and retired military guests and seniors (62 or better) get a $3 discount Mon.-Thurs., and a $1 discount on weekends. Children 12 and under and guests in wheelchairs are free. Ticket sales will stop one hour before closing.
More information and a $3 discount coupon are available at www.homearama.tv.