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National Wildlife Federation certifies new Wildlife Habitat at JCPRD’s Natureplay Preschool site
POSTED: 12/05/2016
The National Wildlife Foundation (NWF) America’s largest wildlife conservation and education organization, is pleased to recognize that Natureplay Preschool in Shawnee has successfully created a Certified Wildlife Habitat© through its Garden for Wildlife program. NWF celebrates the efforts of Natureplay Preschool, which is a program of the Johnson County Park & Recreation District, 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. Certification also makes this local Certified Wildlife Habitat© part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, a national effort to restore critical habitat for pollinators.

“Natureplay Preschool is on a mission to help young children develop a love, appreciation, and understanding of the natural world,” said Natureplay Preschool Program Director Rosanna Munoz. We are excited to have a Certified Wildlife Habitat© adjacent to our building where children can observe and study native wildlife. When children come to appreciate nature’s beauty at a young age, they become future stewards of our environment

“We are so excited to have another passionate wildlife gardener join us and create a Certified Wildlife Habitat©. Over the last 40 years, nearly 200,000 wildlife gardeners have joined NWF’s Garden for Wildlife movement and helped restore wildlife habitat right in their own yards and neighborhoods,” added David Mizejewski, naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. “Whether you garden in a suburban yard, an apartment balcony, or a ten-acre farm, a schoolyard or a business park, or anything in between, everyone can create a home for local wildlife. Turning your space into a Certified Wildlife Habitat© is fun, easy, and makes a big difference for neighborhood wildlife.”

The Natureplay Preschool’s habitat includes a butterfly garden and a native prairie restoration site. Funds for this project were made possible through a grant provided by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

“Both sites contain milkweed, the host plant for the monarch butterfly,” Munoz said. “A variety of host and nectar plants, along with native grasses, shrubs and trees, have been planted to attract a variety of butterflies and birds. We’ve already spotted several toads and bird species visiting our sites.”

Natureplay Preschool is a discovery-based learning program for ages three through five, and is located at the Mill Creek Activity Center, 6518 Vista Dr., Shawnee. The program offers half-day preschool with two-, three-, to five-days-a-week options, as well as occasional stand-alone nature hikes and programs. Natureplay Director Rosanna Munoz holds degrees in biology and early childhood education has been leading JCPRD early childhood programs since 2002. For questions about Natureplay Preschool or the outdoor fun programs, call Munoz at (913) 826-2958.

The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization, inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.

NWF’s Garden for Wildlife program encourages responsible gardening that helps pollinators and other wildlife thrive. It encourages planting with native species like milkweed and discouraging chemical pesticide use. With nearly 200,000 locations and growing, NCF’s Certified Wildlife Habitats and Community Wildlife Habitats recognize individuals, schools, groups, and whole communities committed to providing habitat for wildlife, including pollinators. Each of the nearly 200,000 certified locations provides food, water, cover, and places to raise young. This makes yards, schools, businesses, places of worship, campuses, parks, farms, and other community-based landscapes into wildlife sanctuaries. For more information on gardening for wildlife and details on how an entire community can become certified, visit or call 1 (800) 822-9919.

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