President's View: Bringing Plants to Your Doorstep

Garden for Wildlife’s new enterprise makes buying native plants easy

  • Collin O’Mara President & CEO of the National Wildlife Federation
  • Conservation
  • Apr 01, 2022

Garden for Wildlife™ Native Plant Collections include milkweed, asters and other vital natives. Collections are curated for your zip code and shipped to 36 states across the Northeast, Midwest and Southeast.

I'M CONSTANTLY INSPIRED BY MEMBERS who have turned to nature for much-needed solace and serenity in the face of this challenging pandemic. There’s no better example of this than the millions of Americans who are gardening for wildlife. Planting native plants has frankly never been more important. Right now, more than one-third of all U.S. species are at heightened risk of extinction, including many vital pollinators. Fortunately, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of people who are taking action to help because they understand that every garden, no matter how small or large, can make a difference.

The National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife™ program has spent the past 49 years educating home gardeners and helping them transform their spaces into refuges for wildlife. To date we’ve designated more than 270,000 Certified Wildlife Habitats® comprising millions of acres of native plants and providing food, water and shelter for wildlife where people live, work, play, learn and worship. Now we’re building on that legacy through our new Garden for Wildlife Native Plant Collections, which will help ensure a quality supply of native plants that support a significant number of pollinators and other species.

Since we launched this new venture, we have already seen tremendous success. In 2021, we supplied 4,200 gardens across the East Coast with 27,000 native plants, creating 232,000 square feet of new native garden habitat. Our research and stories from gardeners across the country make it clear that wildlife gardening—particularly with “keystone” native plants that support the greatest number of species (Power Plants)—can double the amount of wildlife in your space in just one season. These plants and sustainable gardening practices are essential to reversing the biodiversity crisis. In my own garden, my daughters and I have been delighted to see our efforts pay off—with butterflies and bees flocking to the new milkweed and other native plants we planted.

Through gardening, each of us can do our part to avert America’s wildlife crisis. We are incredibly grateful to our network of affiliates, partner organizations, habitat stewards, volunteers, teachers and municipal and faith-based leaders for their grassroots education and habitat installations. We hope you’ll join millions of others who are planting for the planet by visiting to learn about which plants are best for your region and how to get started. Happy planting, everyone!

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Follow Collin O’Mara on Twitter @Collin_OMara. To share your thoughts and opinions, email him at

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