National Wildlife Federation Certifies UM Garden as Wildlife Habitat

May 16, 2017

MISSOULA – The National Wildlife Federation certified the University of Montana’s Lommasson Garden as official wildlife habitat on May 10. The garden is managed by UM Dining and is an extension of the UM Farm to College Program, which advocates the use of sustainable practices such as purchasing local foods, recycling and reduction of carbon footprints.

The University of Montana’s Lommasson Garden became certified wildlife habitat on May 10. The National Wildlife Federation runs a campaign to make urban spaces friendlier to an array of wildlife such as birds, pollinating insects and amphibians. The UM campus has several wildlife-habitat-certified spaces, and UM Dining officials are proud their “food forest” has become another one.

Elizabeth Pickhardt, a spring intern with the UM Dining garden, pursued the habitat certification as her independent project. The garden already fulfilled the criteria for food sources, cover, places to raise young and sustainable practices. She identified what it was missing: a water source.  

So, Pickhardt crafted a bird bath and butterfly puddler – or a shallow bath – from upcycled materials purchased from Home Resource – a nonprofit  that sells reused building materials  – as well as found items. She also coordinated with NWF to make the certification official.

“We are proud of Elizabeth’s efforts and very happy to have the space become a certified wildlife habitat,” said Camp Howard, UM Dining director. “The UM Dining garden strives to preserve ecological diversity as an important part of our food system.”

UM Dining broke ground on the garden in March 2011. Produce grown in the garden is served in UM’s Food Zoo.

For more information call Sam Belenger, UM Dining director of marketing, at 406-243-5089 or email


Contact: Sam Belanger, UM Dining director of marketing, 406-243-5089,