The National Wildlife Federation

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National Initiatives

Engaging millions to Garden for Wildlife where they live, work, play, learn and worship

As a national conservation education program of the National Wildlife Federation for over 45 years, Garden for Wildlife efforts have made an impact on an estimated 1.5 million acres of urban and suburban habitat. Including:

Garden for Wildlife Month

Each May, in prime planting season, when many wildlife are seeking places to raise their young, NWF highlights ways people can make a difference by providing food, water, cover, and places to raise their young.


The National Wildlife Federation has species specific initiatives that address the decline of many backyard migratory species such as pollinators and monarchs that bridge to our policy and larger landscape efforts and have resulted in some essential program partnerships.

In addition to our Federation efforts nationwide and resources on the plight of pollinators, NWF has responded to the White House’s National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators and helped co-found the National Pollinator Garden Network and has helped launched the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge to mobilize and educate millions of Americans on the need to plant sustainable pollinator garden habitat.


The monarch butterfly, an iconic species whose populations have declined by 90% in the last 20 years, is an indicator of the habitat decline and stress all pollinators are facing. Quality monarch habitat also helps other pollinators.

NWF is helping address this through all its Garden for Wildlife efforts and additional targeted eastern, central and west coast flyway efforts in partnership with several program partners.

Targeted campaigns are engaging key players to commit to creating habitat for monarchs.

  • Mayors' Monarch PledgeFrom Austin through the Great Lakes, mayors along the central monarch flyway and other local government chief executives across the nation are taking action to help save the monarch butterfly. These cities and municipalities are committing to create habitat and educate citizens about how they can make a difference at home.
  • Butterfly Heroes Pledge: Over 40,000 families, school and community groups pledged to plant milkweed in 2015 and received a free garden starter kit. As result, an estimated 150,000 students, youth and community volunteers planted and held events all to help the monarch butterfly. The pledge campaign is open for 2016 until June 1, 2016. This effort was made possible by the support of the Disney Conservation Fund and Botanical Interests Seed Company. Subaru is a presenting sponsor of the effort for 2016.

State and Large Landscape Efforts for Monarchs

NWF is also coordinating outreach and education with the following partners to encourage milkweed planting and maintenance to help monarch population’s increase to 225 million in the central flyway. Partners include: United States Fish and Wildlife Service, The National Fish and Wildlife Fund, Monarch Joint Venture, Monarch Watch, along with the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Research and others including Texas Parks and Wildlife.