By Kelley V. Phillips—
MUNCIE, IN – Red-tail Land Conservancy seeks individuals and organizations of east central Indiana who have naturally-landscaped yards to apply for Growing Home™ Habitat Certification before the submission deadline on July 31.
Growing Home™ is a backyard habitat program for east central Indiana from Red-tail Land Conservancy. The program is designed to empower community members to rethink how their yard or garden can also serve birds, bees, butterflies, and other beneficial wildlife.
Criteria for habitat certification include providing food, water, shelter, and native plants that benefit wildlife. Habitats must also be at least 50 square feet, free of invasive species on Indiana’s banned plants list, and located in east central Indiana.
“It may seem daunting at first, but many people already meet the criteria or are very close,” said Kelley V. Phillips, Red-tail’s Communications & Outreach Manager. “Native plants, bird feeders, and brush piles are all features of a healthy habitat.”
Once an outdoor space meets the criteria for a healthy habitat, the owner can apply for it to be reviewed and certified by a committee of plant and wildlife specialists. The Growing Home™ Committee includes a nursery manager, botanist, wildlife biologist, invasive plant removal specialist, Master Gardener, and environmental science educators.
Red-tail has published a Growing Home™ Certification Guide that details each criterion, why it is important, and ideas on how to fulfill it. The guide also includes a suggested reading list and links to helpful resources. It can be found and downloaded on Red-tail’s website.
People or organizations whose outdoor space is certified receive a certificate and have the option to purchase a “Certified Habitat” yard sign. This fall, Red-tail is offering an exclusive event for the Growing Home™ community with continuing education and Q&A with experts.
“The beautiful certificate yard sign are great ways to show recognition for the work someone goes through to attract and support wildlife. But the real reward is knowing that your effort is the difference between survival and stress for our local and migrating wildlife. If everyone were to transform just part of their yard into a pocket nature preserve, our community would create a patchwork quilt of re-wildling in response to increasing habitat loss,” said Phillips.
The program started in 2021 and has certified more than 80 habitats across Delaware, Hamilton, Henry, Jay, Madison, Marion, Randolph, and Wayne counties. Organizations with Certified Habitats include natural areas managed by Minnetrista Museum & Gardens, Muncie Sanitary District, and Ball State University. Red-tail Land Conservancy hopes to surpass 100 Certified Habitats by the end of 2023.
“With the tremendous success of the program since its inception, we know our east central Indiana community will want to be part of the movement to grow places wildlife can call home,” said Phillips.
The Growing Home™ guide, certification details, submission process, and application can be found by visiting www.ForTheLand.org/GrowingHome. Red-tail welcomes questions about how to apply by emailing email@example.com.
About Red-Tail Land Conservancy
Red-Tail Land Conservancy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that protects and connects habitats where wildlife and people thrive. By permanently preserving and restoring forests, prairies, and wetlands, Red-tail Land Conservancy plans for a future where the natural beauty of east central Indiana will exist for generations to come. www.ForTheLand.org