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Natural distinction

Tallgrass Creek named Certified Wildlife Habitat

Created date

June 25th, 2013
Tallgrass Creekisn t just another cookie-cutter retirement community with run-of-the-mill scenery and generic landscaping. In fact, the Erickson Living community in Overland Park, Kans., is a Certified Wildlife Habitat. The community earned that designation in March from the National Wildlife Federation. Tallgrass Creek was recognized for what the Federation called a wildlife-friendly habitat that attracts a variety of birds, butterflies, and other local animals. Tallgrass Creek now joins 150,000 other Certified Wildlife Habitats in the United States. It s easy to feel that there is no hope for wildlife in our modern world of smog, traffic, and asphalt. But there is hope. Each of us can make our own piece of the earth a healthy, green space that helps restore the ecological balance, National Wildlife Federation spokesman David Mizejewski says. Encouraging your neighbors to join with you can lead to a neighborhood or community habitat that provides wildlife with greater incentive to call your piece of the earth home. Tallgrass Creek Facilities Manager Daniel Stapf helped spearhead the community s effort to become a Certified Wildlife Habitat. He says he learned about the designation process and thought Tallgrass Creek would be a good candidate, so he decided to submit an application.

Feast for the eyes

We have over 40 different species of birds that have been identified on our property, Stapf says. We have squirrels, rabbits, beavers, coyotes, and deer that can be seen regularly, and one resident swears they ve seen a bobcat. Tallgrass Creek s designation as a Certified Wildlife Habitat comes thanks in large part to the combined efforts of environmentally conscious residents and staff. Resident Elna Ponto and Executive Director Peter Crane have been driving forces behind the formation of the community s nature club, which has taken on a prairie preservation project. Together, residents and staff have worked to incorporate native grasses like Indian grass and namesake tallgrass into the community s landscaping. The prairie grasses, in turn, have helped to attract the wildlife that now dwell there. I am so pleased and proud that we have been recognized as an official wildlife habitat area, Crane says. This recognition affirms the work many of our residents have done to preserve the natural setting and native species of plants and wildlife that Tallgrass Creek is located on.