Supporting Wildlife, Fighting Extinction at Home Through Garden for Wildlife Month

Reston, VA — The National Wildlife Federation’s 7th Annual Garden for Wildlife Month offers home gardeners, wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists a chance to join together with millions of their peers across the nation and help support species in their backyards.

“From butterflies to birds and everything in between, species are facing unprecedented threats to their survival. Garden for Wildlife Month offers Americans a critical way they can support wildlife in their locality” said Mary Phillips, senior director of the Garden for Wildlife program. “We at the National Wildlife Federation are inspired by the millions who are making simple changes to their outdoor spaces — from whole landscaped areas to a few planters — to support pollinators, birds and other wildlife. You can make a difference when you plant with purpose.”

An estimated 7 million people are expected to participate in Garden for Wildlife this year, with highest participation levels during May, Garden for Wildlife Month — making it the nation’s largest and longest-running effort dedicated to helping wildlife locally. In the United States alone, a million acres a year are engulfed by expanding urban and suburban development. Taylor Morrison, a leading homebuilder and developer, is Garden for Wildlife’s newest partner, teaming up with National Wildlife Federation to restore and protect wildlife habitat in the homebuilder’s communities nationwide while engaging staff, residents and the public in accessible and effective wildlife restoration efforts.

Celebrating 46 years this spring, Garden for Wildlife’s signature program, Certified Wildlife Habitats® has grown to 230,000 sites encompassing backyards, gardens, fields, and community spaces. These areas support and protect the future of birds, bees, butterflies, and other amazing wildlife. Anyone, no matter their age or location, can participate with almost immediate results - potentially doubling the numbers of diverse local wildlife.

Celebrate this year’s Garden for Wildlife Month and American Public Gardens Week, by visiting one of the 85 Certified Wildlife Habitat® public gardens that will be offering free or discounted events from May 13th to the 19th.

Programs with Impact

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

Currently 471 community leaders have taken the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge to increase monarch butterfly habitat through the efforts of 5 million people. Similarly, The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge surpassed its goal with 1,040,000 registered pollinator gardens through joint efforts of National Wildlife Federation and more than 50 partners in the National Pollinator Garden Network.

This month, National Wildlife Federation has also partnered with GrowIt! The Plant Community mobile app, The National Gardening Association, and National Garden Clubs, Inc. whose members are increasingly gardening for wildlife and creating Certified Wildlife Habitats®.


Garden for Wildlife programs provide easy to use tools and resources designed to help anyone take action for declining wildlife populations. Highlights include:

  • A monthly e-newsletter, downloadable tip sheets, blogs, and magazine articles covering common questions and information about species and habitat; 
  • Active social media communities on Facebook and Twitter;
  • Books including Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife by NWF naturalist, David Mizejewski and the NWF Magazine compilation of Wildlife Gardening Tips for Four Seasons;
  • A native plant finder that helps you compile a list of plants that occur and thrive naturally in your region to include in your wildlife garden; 
  • An online library of step-by-step videos and curriculum guides for educators that address every aspect of creating wildlife friendly spaces;
  • Great accessories for any wildlife garden, from bird baths to bat houses; 
  • Informative and mobile friendly tools for registering your wildlife garden to be recognized under the Certified Wildlife Habitat® program.

Get Involved

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.

Learn More
Regional Centers and Affiliates