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Nature at Home

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Nature at Home Certification Program

Through the Nature at Home Certification Program, Extension helps New Hanover County residents incorporate conservation practices into their landscaping. The program was developed to educate and inspire people on the best land stewardship practices for making their growing spaces nurturing for native 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. Eligible applicants receive initial property assessments from Extension Master Gardener volunteers who can advise the client as they work towards implementing the practices necessary to receive a Nature at Home Certification.

Who is eligible? At this time, only residents of New Hanover County can apply. Any size of yard is eligible, from porches to expansive backyards. Site visits are scheduled from April 15 to November 15 so observations can be made in the growing season when foliage is abundant for identification. The optimal time to plant is October through March.

The $30 application fee must be paid at the Extension office/NHC Arboretum (located at 6206 Oleander Drive) before a site visit is scheduled. Participants can pay by cash, card, or check (payable to New Hanover County).

Apply online here: Nature at Home Application – Google Form

Read through the seven Nature at Home Practices here.

Download the Nature at Home brochure.

Nature at Home Ambassadors are Master Gardener volunteers with specialized training in native plants, local ecology, and conservation practices. Once an application is submitted (in-person or online) and the one-time $30 fee is paid (in-person), the site will be reviewed by Ambassadors in a pre-scheduled site visit that typically lasts one hour. Properties can be certified upon review or re-review by Ambassadors, after which the participant will earn a stylish yard sign signifying one’s wildlife-friendly landscape that can be picked up in the Plant Clinic located at the New Hanover County Arboretum.

Nature at Home is brought to you by NC State Extension with support from the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Association of New Hanover County, the New Hanover County Arboretum, and Cape Fear Audubon Society.

Residents are also encouraged to explore the following resources that relate to promoting native ecosystems at home:

Citizen Science Opportunities:

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.