Red-tail News

Deadline nearing for submissions to Red-tail’s Growing Home™ Habitat Certification program

MUNCIE– Red-tail Land Conservancy seeks individuals and organizations from east central Indiana who have naturally landscaped yards to apply for Growing Home™ Habitat Certification before the certification submission deadline on July 31.

Growing Home™ is an award-winning 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 total square feet, generally free of invasive species on Indiana’s banned plants list, and located in east central Indiana.

“The criteria may seem intimidating at first, but many home gardens meet the criteria or are very close,” said JoAnna Darda, Red-tail’s Outreach Coordinator. “If you have native plants like coneflower, black-eyed susan, or milkweed and a brush pile in your garden, you’re halfway there!”

Once an outdoor space meets the criteria for a healthy habitat, the owner or caretaker 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.

“Our beautiful ‘Certified Habitat’ yard signs celebrate the work participants go through to attract and support wildlife and can also serve as a conversation-starter and educational tool for others who are interested in supporting wildlife in their outdoor spaces. While each participant with a certified outdoor space receives a certificate, the real reward is seeing wonderful wildlife visitors thrive in your space,” said Darda.

The program started in 2021 and has certified more than 120 habitats across 11 counties in east central Indiana. In 2023, it won the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence, the highest environmental award possible in the state of Indiana. “By creating pocket nature preserves across our community, we create a patchwork of vital habitats for native and migrating wildlife,” said Darda. “In the face of increasing habitat loss, the participants of our Growing Home™ Habitat Certification program have rewilded more than 400 acres of land to support wildlife!”

The Growing Home™ guide, certification details, submission process, and short application can be found by visiting Red-tail welcomes questions about how to apply by calling 765-288-2587 or emailing

Photo by Kyle Johnson


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