One of Buffalo's oldest array of neighborhoods has now helped the city become a certified National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitat, the 16th largest in the country.
There's a new slogan: "On to Erie County and then New York State."
Even as the designation was being announced, migratory birds flashed across the Niagara River scenery outside Acqua restaurant on Niagara Street in Buffalo. This is a migratory bird path, spring and fall.
The Black Rock Riverside Alliance brought together homeowners, businesses, schools and students to work with the city Parks Department, Grassroots Gardens and Gardens Buffalo Niagara to create a section of the city so friendly to wildlife that it's recognized by the National Wildlife Federation.
City Public Works Commissioner Michael Finn accepted a certificate for the city.
"The groups that we have all across the city that help us to achieve goals like this, really, the best thing that I can say about the city for this is that this was basically the culmination of work that we already had been doing and that's why it was an easy lift for the Parks Department to say yes, because it wasn't a big build," Finn said. "It wasn't a bunch of extra maintenance. We had already been doing a lot of things that they were looking for."
BRRA Past President Mary Ann Kedron said the effort helps more than just those participating.
"Quality of life improved for all becomes a major goal of our organization," Kendron said. "We sat back, looked at a couple of strategic plans and decided that this was on the top of our list. So we're moving forward on a couple of these projects because wildlife does not recognize geographic borders. So we forget to tell the foxes that they have to stop at the county or the city line."
If the effort moves to the same level for Erie County, the foxes won't have to stop at the county line.
County Executive Mark Poloncarz was at the announcement to point out the county has a lot of parks for the wildlife and anglers, visible just past the Acqua parking lot, showing citizens know about wildlife or, in this case, river life.