Nature at Home
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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. Thanks to the Cape Fear Audubon Society for collaborating with the Extension Master Gardener volunteer program of New Hanover County to develop this initiative.
Who is eligible? At this time, only residents in New Hanover County can apply. Any size yard, ranging from the porch to the backyard, is eligible. Site visits are scheduled from April 1 through October 31, so that 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 received by the Extension office (located at 6206 Oleander Drive) before a site visit is scheduled. Participants can pay by check, cash, or card. Site visits are not scheduled between November 1st and March 31st, because many plants are dormant.
Read through the seven Nature at Home Practices here.
Download the Nature at Home brochure.
Once an application is submitted (in-person or online), a $30 fee is paid (in-person credit card, cash or check at 6206 Oleander Drive, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-12 noon & 1 p.m.-5 p.m.), a home visit is scheduled, the site is reviewed by Ambassadors, and the property is certified, participants will earn a stylish yard sign signifying one’s nature-friendly habitat that can be picked up at the Plant Clinic located at the NHC Arboretum.
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:
- COASTAL LANDSCAPES INITIATIVE-NCSUIncludes design templates, native plant guides, brochures, and more
- LANDSCAPING FOR WILDLIFE WITH NATIVE PLANTS-NCSU
- BUTTERFLIES IN YOUR BACKYARD-NCSU
- MANAGING BACKYARD AND OTHER URBAN HABITATS FOR BIRDS-NCSU
- HOW TO MAKE WILDLIFE FRIENDLY LANDSCAPES-NCSU
- PLANT TOOLBOX—FIND OR IDENTIFY PLANTS-NCSU
- VEGETABLE GARDENING: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE
- ORGANIC LAWN CARE GUIDE-NCSU
- CITIZEN’S GUIDE TO PROTECTING WILMINGTON’S WATERWAYS
- CAPE FEAR AUDUBON
- AUDUBON’S NATIVE PLANT FINDER
- LEAVE YOUR LEAVES – New Hope Audubon
- AREA NATIVE PLANT VENDORS
- NORTH CAROLINA INVASIVE PLANT COUNCIL
- REPLACE INVASIVES WITH NATIVES FLYER
- SMART YARDS NC COASTAL FEDERATION
- KEYSTONE NATIVE PLANTS EASTERN TEMPERATE FORESTS
- BUTTERFLY HIGHWAY NEWSLETTER – NC Wildlife Federation
- NC Native Plant Council Handouts
- SLIDES: NC Native Plants for Coastal Landscape – Charlotte Glen
- BOOKS: Extension Gardener Handbook Chapter 12 – Native Plants
- Bringing Nature Home and Nature’s Best Hope by Doug Tallamy –Watch this presentation by Dr. Tallamy called Native Keystone Plants for Wildlife
- A New Garden Ethic presentation video from Dr. Ben Vogt and Grow Native Massachusettes
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.