MUNCIE, Ind., July 19, 2022 – Red-tail Land Conservancy seeks individuals and organizations of east central Indiana that have natural 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.
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 who assesses each application includes a nursery manager, botanist, wildlife biologist, invasive plant removal specialist, Master Gardeners, and environmental science educators. These specialists volunteering on the committee include residents of Delaware, Henry, and Randolph counties.
Features that must be in place for Growing Home certification include food, water, cover, 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. “We’ve created a guide that walks through each step, explaining why a certain aspect is important to wildlife and ideas on how to fulfill it.”
People 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 and charming yard sign are great ways to show recognition for the thought and 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 place that serves birds, bees, and butterflies, 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 35 habitats across Delaware, Henry, Randolph, and Wayne counties. Red-tail Land Conservancy hopes to add 40 more to that number in 2022.
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 calling 765-288-2587 or emailing email@example.com.
Wasson Nursery is Growing Home 2022’s presenting sponsor. Additional sponsors include Old National Bank and Doug and Cathy White.
Photo of Growing Home Certified Habitat 2021. Credit B Byrum