Village and Wilderness

Microhabitat Program Resource Center

An open access resource for new and emerging microhabitat programs

Microhabitat Program
Resource Center

An open access resource for new and emerging microhabitat programs

Microhabitat programs restore ecosystem function in the fragmented landscape. From shade gardens and bioswales in urban areas, to pollinator waystations on the margins of agricultural land, to backyard habitats in the suburbs, microhabitat programs are part of a global phenomenon we call the microhabitat movement. These programs provide participants with a range of resources such as site-specific planting and management recommendations, yard certification, mentoring, education and native plants. This directory is a growing list of the microhabitat programs we have identified. If you represent a microhabitat program and are interested in being listed in our directory, please get in touch!

Organization(s): Columbia Land Trust and Portland Audubon

Location: Portland metro area, Oregon

Mission/description: This collaboration between Columbia Land Trust and Portland Audubon operates under the motto “Plant Roots, Create a Habitat, Transform the World…One Yard at a Time,” tackling yards under 1 acre in size. In its own words, “We’ve teamed up to create a unique program that supports urban gardeners in their efforts to create natural backyard habitats…Together we make our cities a healthier place, for ourselves and for wildlife. Our community of Backyard Habitats is over 9,000 strong, and growing every day.”

Services: Initial site visit, consultation and site report by a trained technician; technical assistance via email and phone; follow-up visit by a trained volunteer for assessment and certification; online tools such as a resource library and lists of qualified landscape professionals

Goods: Discounts and vouchers at local nurseries and stores; certification and yard signs

Fees: Enrollment based on a sliding scale starting at $35

Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania

Mission/description: “Inspiring and teaching people to create healthy habitats in their yards by planting native plants and providing the essentials for wildlife to thrive.”

Services: Educational programs for local groups; on-site consultations with homeowners on improving wildlife habitat; online knowledge resources via the Backyards for Nature blog and website

Goods: $50 for on-site consultation; group presentation fee of $100, with proceeds benefiting the Valley Forge Audubon Society

Location: Chicago area, Illinois

Mission/description: Conservation @ Home (C@H) helps property stewards make “earth-conscious choices” to create attractive and ecologically-functional home landscapes. The program also includes off-shoots such as Conservation @ Work and Conservation @ School to bring the model to a range of spaces.

Services: Consultation with a trained technician who provides site-specific recommendations for plantings, management and stewardship; educational events such as webinars and in-person events; online resource including lists of qualified landscape professionals

Goods: Yard sign for sites meeting qualifications, ascertained by a site visit

Fees: Requested donation for participation is $25 for members of The Conservation Foundation, and $50 for non-members, which includes a 1-year TCF membership

Organization: Eastern Sierra Land Trust

Location: Eastern Sierra, Inyo and Mono Counties, California

Mission/description: The website of the Eastside Pollinator Garden Project, run by the Eastern Sierra Land Trust, states that it helps gardeners throughout Inyo and Mono Counties in California to create and certify their own pollinator-friendly spaces.

Services: In-person site consultation for interested property stewards and a “progress check-in” visit

Goods: 5 milkweed plants (valued at $25) and a voucher for $100 of native plants; Pollinator Garden certification plaque for meeting program criteria after final garden visit

Fees: None

Organization: Green Bexley

Location: Bexley, Ohio

Mission/description: “Love Your Alley is about transforming our underutilized alleys into extended living space for everyone to enjoy. By planting native plants, we are cultivating our land to create a Homegrown National Park in 43209 to support our ecosystem. Native plants pack a powerful sustainability punch: they support our pollinators, assist in flood prevention, fight climate change, and protect the aesthetic that defines the Midwest.” LYA’s activities are concentrated around the month of May.

Services: Classes and instruction, artists, volunteer plant installation teams, garden tours and garden contests during the month of May

Goods: Free native plants available during the annual LYA festival day

Fees: None

(previously known as California Working Lands Free Seed Program)

Organization: Monarch Joint Venture

Location: California’s Central Valley and Southern Oregon

Mission/description: “The Monarchs and More Western Habitat Program provides regionally specific seed mixes, milkweed plugs when appropriate, and technical assistance for pollinator plantings on land in California and Southern Oregon for free or highly subsidized based on landowner need. The seed mixes include regionally specific wildflowers, including annuals and perennials, designed with overlapping bloom periods throughout the growing season. We are excited to engage landowners and land managers in the establishment of self-sustaining native habitat to support all pollinators.”

Services: Technical assistance as needed during year one of implementation

Goods: Seed mixes and milkweed plugs free or subsidized

Fees: None except cost-sharing, as applicable, for plant materials

Organization: Biodiversity Works

Location: Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Mission/description: “Natural Neighbors works with property owners and neighborhood associations to learn about their interests in nature and identify current and potential biodiversity contributions on their land. Then, we’ll offer customized management recommendations to benefit plants, pollinators, and wildlife in your area. We’ll help you develop a stewardship plan compatible with your time and resources.” Natural Neighbors is a program developed by a partnership between BiodiversityWorks and Village & Wilderness, with support from the Martha’s Vineyard Vision Fellowship.

Services: On-site visits and customized recommendations for improving eco-function, management and stewardship of private and community properties

Goods: Native plant plug kits for sale through the nursery of Polly Hill Arboretum

Fees:  None for site visits and reports. Native plants sold at cost.


Location: Ojai Valley, Southern California

Mission/description: “Rewild Ojai is OVLC’s new program to increase the quantity and diversity of native plants grown in our nursery to sell to the community, initiate a seed conservation program…and empower all landowners across the mosaic of land use types to take action to Rewild Ojai.” Once fully launched, the program will include on-site consultations by trained volunteers, educational and community events, and yard signs and certification.

Services: Native seed conservation; native plant propagation; online knowledge resources for the community

Goods: Diverse selection of native plants via the OVLC nursery, all propagated from seeds and cuttings collected sustainably from the Ojai Valley to protect and propagate local genotypes

Location: North Yarmouth, Maine

Mission/description: “Wild Seed Project builds awareness of the vital importance of native plants and provides all people with the tools to restore biodiversity in their own communities. We equip community members, public officials and municipalities, and land-holding individuals and organizations – from farmers to land trusts – with the skills and resources they need to collectively repopulate landscapes with native plants that expand wildlife habitat, support biodiversity, and build climate resilience. Our core programs include: Seed Stewardship, Education, School and Youth Programs, Applied Ecology, and Publications.”

Services: Seed stewardship; site consultation and design services; educational programs and online resources; school curriculum integration

Goods: Ecotypic native plant seeds and print publications for sale; plants via annual plant sale

Fees: Varies by good and service. Membership and discounted benefits also offered

Location: Northern Virginia

Mission/description: “The Wildlife Sanctuary Program brings trained naturalists together with property owners and managers on a mission to restore natural habitat. We offer information, on-site consultation and recommendations to help you establish and nurture sustainable natural habitat in your backyard, neighborhood, school, church, park or business in spaces that range from a small corner of your yard to many acres.”

Services: On-site visit and wildlife habitat recommendations by an Audubon volunteer ambassador; online knowledge resources

Goods: Wildlife Sanctuary certification and yard signage

Fees: $40 for yard signage