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Nature at Home Certification Program

The Nature at Home Certification Program was developed to educate and encourage people on the best land stewardship practices for making their growing spaces nurturing for plants, insects, birds and other wildlife. From backyards to front porches, the potential to transform your outdoor living spaces is boundless. Working towards greater biodiversity helps pollinators like birds, bees and butterflies flourish.

Who is eligible? At this time, only residents in New Hanover County can apply. Any size yard, ranging from porch to backyard, is eligible.

Download the Nature at Home brochure here.

Download an application for Nature at Home here OR fill out an online application is available via Google Forms here: Nature at Home Application – Google Form

Once an application is submitted, fee is paid, site is reviewed by Ambassadors, and the property is certified, participants will receive a stylish yard sign signifying one’s nature friendly habitat.

Approved applicants will receive contact from Master Gardener volunteers who will schedule a time to set up a home visit. These visits are approximately an hour in length. The Master Gardener team will visit your yard and review your status and give advice on ways to encourage and support wildlife in your yard.

Resources to bring nature home:

For any questions about this program, please contact the Cooperative Extension Plant Clinic located at the New Hanover County Arboretum, 6206 Oleander Drive in Wilmington, NC 28403. Plant Clinic hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and the phone number is 910-798-7674.

Garbage to Gardens Program

Garbage to Gardens originated several years ago as an experimental project known as “Waste Free Wednesday” at Winter Park Elementary School. The project focused on diverting school lunch waste, one day a week, from the landfill and turning it into a valuable resource (i.e. compost) that could then be returned to the school for use in their garden. With continued support from the staff and parents at Winter Park, community leaders, business owners and environmental educators, the program continues to be refined and has evolved into what is now known as Garbage to Gardens. We hope to expand the program to DC Virgo school.


  • To encourage children to rethink their resource use and understand the processes by which we can find value in our waste stream and conserve natural resources
  • To show the complete cycle by which waste is generated, returned to the soil, decomposed, then utilized as nutrients used to generate more food where the process begins again
  • To incorporate waste diversion and composting into daily best management practices, making this behavior a routine part of the school day for students
  • To divert waste streams from the landfill through service learning techniques
  • To teach these processes such that a student feels comfortable practicing them outside of the school

Use the following links to view compost curricula:

Check out this promotional video produced by Bootscrap Productions for the Garbage to Gardens program: