Canada’s Biggest Wildlife Garden | Carolinian Canada
Canada's Biggest Wildlife Garden
photos (left-to-right): Lisa Mason (2), Kelly McConnell, Bruce Manning

Grow Canada’s biggest wildlife garden

The vision for Canada’s biggest wildlife garden is a healthy habitat network of native plants across the Carolinian Zone. It includes a network of sites to save existing habitat, grow new natural habitat and integrate native plants into cultural landscapes.

By March 2020, close to 3,000 volunteers are growing wildlife gardens at home and caring for 27,000 hectares of land. This map shows how we can nurture hope and healthy landscapes in the Carolinian Zone together.

This is just the beginning!  Our challenge is to connect 15,000 healthy gardeners as a first critical step to restore our future by 2030. Nature is the life support system of the earth.

Join us to accelerate on-ground action collectively.  Grow your own natural oasis at home. Share your story or sign up your group. Support the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration in your neighbourhood.

Count yourself in to grow Canada's Biggest Wildlife Garden, together, and nurture healthy communities.

Who will grow it?

Thousands of volunteers and partner groups across diverse sectors, landscapes and communities will save, steward and seed native plants on sites they manage in harmony with local land uses.

What sites qualify for a wildlife garden?

Anywhere that you want to save, grow or care for native plants can be counted as part of Canada’s biggest wildlife garden – from a balcony pot to a yard to a field. To start, you don’t need to have any plants on site. Sites with great potential for improvement are encouraged. The first time you use the Tracker will establish your baseline wildlife value and give you ideas to grow more.

About the In the Zone Challenge

Currently 4,000+ gardeners are growing a network of healthy habitat for wildlife and people with In the Zone. But we need thousands more to grow native plants at home to reverse the trend of habitat loss and save the unique nature of the Carolinian Zone from rare butterflies and aquatic mussels to flying squirrels and iconic owls. We challenge groups to track at least 100 sites in your community for Canada’s biggest wildlife garden.

How does In the Zone help other wildlife and garden programs?

In the Zone focuses on native plants as the highest quality wildlife garden with the first comprehensive native plant list for the Carolinian Zone. It is the only multi-partner platform for shared standards, measures and tools across diverse habitats, land uses and sectors in the Carolinian Zone. It brings together critical conservation, social and economic factors into one easy to use mobile portal for anyone anywhere to track and grow the wildlife value of their site, neighbourhood or community using best practices. Other programs can plug into this platform to measure their outreach impact in growing biodiversity and healthy landscapes.

Why choose native plants?

Native plants are the building blocks of biodiversity and are required for a healthy web of life, starting with pollinators.

  • Help wildlife thrive: Most of Ontario’s 243 species at risk are listed because of habitat loss, including the loss of native plants and intense human development. Native plants and wildlife depend on one another for pollination, habitat and shelter. By choosing native plants, gardeners can help restore natural habitat and improve biodiversity.
  • Create healthier landscapes: Natural habitat levels in southern Ontario must be doubled to meet federal guidelines for healthy ecosystems.
  • Climate and water smart: Native plants are specially adapted to local conditions, can survive in drier conditions and are more resilient to climate change. By choosing native plants, gardeners can help grow healthier landscapes for wildlife – and people, too.
  • United Nations decade of ecological restoration: On March 1 2019 The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration was declared to massively scale up the restoration of degraded and destroyed ecosystems as a proven measure to fight the climate crisis and enhance food security, water supply and biodiversity.

Partners in growing Canada’s biggest wildlife garden

In the Zone is a partnership program with WWF-Canada

The program is supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation 2018-2021.

Join our partners in growing healthy landscapes for wildlife and people

Chippewas of the Thames First Nation
Forests Ontario
Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association
Ontario Invasive Plant Council
Long Point Basin Land Trust
Conservation Ontario
Nature Conservancy of Canada
St. Williams Nursery and Ecology Center
Native Trees and Plants
Ontario Native Plant Growers Association
Garden Club of London
London Middlesex Master Gardeners
City of London
VERGE Capital
London Environmental Network
Carolinian Canada
And more

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