50% Increase in People Planting for Wildlife in 2020

9th Annual Garden for Wildlife Month Offers All Americans a Chance to Join this Trend

RESTON, Va. — The National Wildlife Federation’s 9th Annual Garden for Wildlife Month is celebrating all who make a difference by planting for wildlife and connecting with nature where they live. This spring, home gardeners and wildlife enthusiasts are embracing Garden for Wildlife at a similar pace to the one observed in 2020, when the program registered a 50% increase in Certified Wildlife Habitat® gardens and five times the number of people seeking wildlife gardening tips online. Efforts to plant native plants, incorporate food, water, cover and places for wildlife to raise their young, have contributed to more than 260,000 total registered Certified Wildlife Habitats® to date. These sites include backyards, gardens, and community spaces with the power to potentially double the numbers of diverse local wildlife, such as, birds, bees, butterflies, and other amazing animals.

“Gardening for wildlife is an accessible way to improve the planet just outside your door. Anyone, anywhere can make this difference. The demand we are experiencing, along with the wildlife-friendly gardening practices observed in the National Gardening Survey, and commitments from national partners, provide consistent proof that these trends are gaining ground,” said Mary Phillips, head of Garden for Wildlife. “We hope more gardeners and wildlife lovers will join us in revolutionizing the way Americans garden and landscape with beautiful havens for wildlife and people.”

Research from the 2021 National Gardening Survey, conducted by the National Garden Association and the University of New Hampshire Survey Center on behalf of the National Wildlife Federation, showed:

  • An estimated 67.2 million American households specifically purchased plants to help butterflies, bees and birds.
  • 43.5 million Americans reported purchasing at least one specific plant because it was native to their area.
  • 30.6 million adults in the United States converted a part of their lawn to a natural or wildflower landscape.
  • Respondents with children in their household and those aged 35-44 were more likely to convert a part of their lawn to a natural or wildflower landscape.
  • Respondents who identify as Asian American or Pacific Islander or as Latin or Hispanic, respondents with children in their household, and respondents aged 18-34 were more likely to purchase organic products.

Responding to a growing demand for wildlife-friendly, native plants, the Garden for Wildlife program launched the new Garden for Wildlife™ Native Plant Collections, in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and part of the Midwest. These home-delivered and backed by science native plant kits help the highest numbers of butterflies, bees, and birds, and include native plants customized by region, garden design templates, monthly tips for success, and access to an online community of fellow gardeners.


 This month, we also celebrate key national partners who are helping us advocate for wildlife gardening on a national scale. These include:

  • The Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Party for the Planet®: Spring into Action to inspire visitors to create their own wildlife habitat at home. There are more than 65 Association of Zoos and Aquariums-Accredited zoos and aquariums with Certified Wildlife Habitat® exhibits and gardens and dozens more that are encouraging visitors to plant native plants in their own communities to help monarch butterflies, pollinators, songbirds, and other wildlife.
  • The Links, Incorporated, an international group dedicated to promoting career opportunities, public service and STEM education for African American communities and youth of color. We are growing wildlife gardens in partnership to help students learn about ecology, soil conservation, the health benefits of nature, environmental justice and helping them feel welcome in that space.
  • The second year of our partnership with Taylor Morrison, the country’s fifth-largest homebuilder with more than 380 communities in 11 states, in which we more than doubled our impact by certifying 4,000 acres of native plant habitat and have more than 170 additional Certified Wildlife Habitats, monarch butterfly demonstration gardens and ECHO (Early Childhood Outdoors) natural playscapes underway this year.

Programs with Impact

National Wildlife Federation, offers a range of options that support Garden for Wildlife’s goals to help local wildlife habitat and to restore and reconnect America’s natural spaces. Opportunities to help wildlife include: Schoolyard Habitats, Eco Leaders Campus Wild, Sacred Grounds™ designation, Mayors’ Monarch Pledge, Community Wildlife Habitats, and The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge.

National Wildlife Federation’s Community Wildlife Habitat program has been helping people take personal action on behalf of wildlife for more than 25 years. We are grateful to the hundreds of local leaders that rally homeowners, businesses, schools, places of worship, parks, and other institutions to create Certified Wildlife Habitats® and organize workshops, festivals to advocate wildlife-friendly communities. To date, 264 communities have been recognized with a Community Wildlife Habitat certification, and the program has seen over a 17% growth since 2019.


Garden for Wildlife easy to use tools and resources are designed to help anyone act to save declining wildlife populations. Highlights include:

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Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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