Support Us Button Widget

How to make your yard a certified wildlife habitat

We’re giving you the dirty details on how to create a certified wildlife habitat for the bees, bugs, and birds in your neighborhood and become a more sustainable Hoosier.

A Certified Wildlife Habitat sign in a yard

This could be in your yard soon.

Photo by INDYtoday team

Table of Contents

Interested in becoming a conservationist right here in Indy? It’s easier than you think.

You can make your front yard, balcony, container garden, roadside greenspace, or work landscape a certified wildlife habitat in just a few steps. Plus, we’re sharing some bonus ways you can become more sustainable in Indy.

Step one

Ensure your habitat provides food year round. Seeds from a plant, foliage, nuts, sap, and suet are just a few of the types of food you can use — you’ll need a total of three to qualify for certification.

Step two

Solidify a clean water plan. There are several different routes you can take, including the incorporation of a lake or stream, adding a birdbath to your area, and creating a rain garden.

Step three

Create a place of shelter from weather extremes. You’ll need to implement at least two forms of coverage, from evergreens, to a rock wall, to a log pile.

Step four

Give wildlife a place to raise their young. This type of spot can be something like a mature tree, a pond, or a cave. You’ll need at least two places for certification.

Step five

Maintain your habitat in a sustainable way. You should conserve soil and water when you can, control exotic species, and eliminate things like chemical fertilizers and pesticides from your maintenance practices.

Once you’ve tackled the five steps, you can go over the checklist and begin the registration process.

Not quite ready to host your own habitat, but still want to be more sustainable around Indy? We have a few suggestions:

  • Follow Indiana Wildlife Federation on social media for tips on native plants, what to do if you’ve found a baby bird, and the qualities of different wildflowers.
  • Volunteer with the Indiana chapter of The Nature Conservancy to help preserve landscapes + waterways statewide.
  • Get involved with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful by applying for new trees in your area, adopting a block, and becoming a KIB ambassador.
More from INDYtoday