Maryland's Wild Acres

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Today, more than ever, wild animals and plants are facing many pressures from humans. Many natural areas have been affected by people in some way, and the quality of wildlife habitat has been steadily decreasing. As a result, habitat loss is the number one threat to wildlife and plants throughout the world.

Proper habitat for wildlife includes an area which supplies food, water, shelter and a place to raise their young. Because wild animals need areas of suitable habitat, your backyard, schoolyard or development can be designed to be a part of an important network of "Wild Acres" used by Maryland's wildlife.

Red-bellied Woodpecker on peanut feeder, courtesy of Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology's Project FeederWatch member Linda WilliaMaryland’s Wild Acres is a voluntary program which encourages Maryland citizens to create backyard wildlife habitat. Backyard wildlife habitat can increase food and shelter for wildlife, control soil erosion, reduce sediment in waterways, conserve water, improve water quality, inspire stewardship and beautify the landscape. The goal of the Wild Acres program is to create backyard habitats across the State that maximize wildlife benefits and highlight conservation stewardship. Backyard wildlife habitat can include decks, yards, large lots and everything in between. The Wild Acres program offers fact sheets on how landowners can enhance their habitat for wildlife by creating food, water and shelter resources. In addition to providing fact sheets, a quarterly publication, HabiChat, is produced which highlights native plants, animals and habitat-enhancing activities. While the Wild Acres certification program does not exist anymore, homeowners can still use Wild Acres information to enhance their habitats. You can certify wildlife habitat through the National Wildlife Federation and/or the Maryland BayWise program.

So, if you feed wild birds, place nest boxes around your house and/or planted flowers and shrubs to attract wildlife, then you are already part of Maryland’s Wild Acres! Check out the fact sheets below as well as previous Habi-Chat publications for useful tips and tricks to attract wildlife. If you want to learn more about wildlife found in Maryland, then check out the Maryland Wildlife List page. Keep in mind, Wild Acres does not provide license to ignore local or county laws, homeowners' agreements or other covenants. Please respect local guidelines.

Invite Wildlife to Your Backyard!

graphic illustration of backyard habitat scene

Wildlife Fact Sheets & Nest Box Plans

Landscaping for Wildlife

Habitat Suggestions

Greening Your Landscape

Wildlife Identification Guides

Backyard Wildlife Habitat Resources

Check Out Habichat! Department of Natural Resources Online Quarterly Newsletter for Stewards of Maryland's Backyard Wildlife

Photo Credit: Red-bellied Woodpecker on peanut feeder, courtesy of Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology's Project FeederWatch member Linda Williamson.