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ABQ a top 10 U.S. city for wildlife

JOURNAL FILE Cranes take off from a field in the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge in the South Valley of Albuquerque earlier this year.

JOURNAL FILE
Cranes take off from a field in the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge in the South Valley of Albuquerque earlier this year.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The National Wildlife Federation announced Tuesday that Albuquerque is among the Top 10 Cities for Wildlife “whose citizens have the strongest commitment to wildlife as part of our celebration of National Wildlife Week 2015.”

The cities selected are those that are going above and beyond the call of duty to protect America’s wildlife, according to the group.

“America’s most wildlife-friendly cities are located in every corner of our nation from sea to shining sea,” said Collin O’Mara, president and chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation. “The common thread between these cities is that citizens are coming together for a common purpose – to create a community where people and wildlife can thrive.”

The National Wildlife Federation said it ranked America’s largest cities based on three important criteria for wildlife – the percentage of parkland in each city, citizen action to create wildlife habitat, and school adoption of outdoor learning in wildlife gardens.

The Top 10 were as follows:

1. Austin, Texas – Austin is a clear-cut choice as America’s best city for wildlife, boasting the most Certified Wildlife Habitats (2,154), most Backyard Habitats per capita, and most Schoolyard Habitats (67). Famous for its Congress Avenue Bridge that’s home to 1.5 million bats, the city of Austin is certified as a Community Wildlife Habitat. Its residents not only want to Keep Austin Weird – they’re the best in America at keeping their city wild.

2. Portland, Ore. – The Rose City boasts America’s most Schoolyard Habitats per capita.

3. Atlanta – The City in a Forest ranks highly across the board, coming in #3 in total Schoolyard Habitats (54), #2 in Schoolyard Habitats per capita, and #2 in Backyard Habitats per capita.

4. Baltimore, Md. – Charm City’s commitment to conservation education shines through with 73 EcoSchools, #2 in America, and a #3 ranking in Schoolyard Habitats per capita.

5. Washington, D.C. – Ranked third in parkland as a percent of city area.

6. Seattle, Wash. -The Emerald City ranks third in Backyard Habitats per capita.

7. Albuquerque – First in America in parkland as a percent of city area, one quarter of Albuquerque is public park land, providing a home for amazing resident and migratory wildlife like the majestic sandhill crane, Cooper’s hawks, black bears, bobcats and deer.

8. Indianapolis, Ind. – With the White River vital to both its people and wildlife, Indianapolis is home to America’s second-largest number of Certified Wildlife Habitats (932).

9. Charlotte, N.C. – Charlotte ranks third in the US in Certified Wildlife Habitats (849) and the city just achieved certification as a Community Wildlife Habitat.

10. New York City, N.Y. – New York City has the most EcoSchools in America (270), ranks fourth in parkland as a percent of city area (14 percent), and is home to an incredible 168 species of wildlife and more than five million trees.

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