Native Plant Habitat Certification

This program exists to recognize the importance of planting, nurturing and protecting native plants in your landscape. With your work, you demonstrate that even a small residential property can help sustain the native ecosystem—its plants, wildlife, water, soil, and air—a vital contribution to a world that has lost so much. Creating and preserving a native plant habitat is always a work in progress: it will have its ongoing tasks and its ongoing and unfolding pleasures. We hope to help you appreciate and enjoy the process.

Once your application is completed, a member of the certification committee will arrange to visit you on your property as part of the certification process. Having a guide to help you explore the plants, site conditions, (and sometimes the wildlife!) on your property can be a fun and inspiring way to see it with new eyes.

Note: If you are actively cultivating any Category 1 or 2 invasive plants, as listed by the Georgia Exotic Plant Pest Council: http://www.gaeppc.org/list/, GNPS will not certify your site. Some of the more common plants on this list are: privet (Ligustrum), kudzu, Chinese wisteria, Japanese honeysuckle, mimosa (Albizia julibrissin), English ivy, autumn olive (Elaeagnus), and chinaberry (Melia azedarach). We can help you identify these and others during our site visit, but if you do not know what they are, chances are you are not trying to grow them.

There are two certification levels, Silver and Gold (see below for details). Both have a certification program fee of $30, paid before you are given a link to the online application form. You must be a member of GNPS to participate; if you are interested in certification and are not yet a member, all you need to do is join! 

Upon certification, you will receive a sign designating your certified level: Gold or Silver. Be sure to ask about the custom stakes coordinated to match your sign and securely mount into your garden (extra fee for stake). We would welcome a photo showing off the native plants in your garden. Your photo will join others on the website to help inspire future applicants.

To summarize, it is a four-step process to become certified:

  1. Pay application fee,
  2. Receive a link to an application form,
  3. Submit the form, and
  4. Work with the certification team when they contact you.

Start the process with step 1 by paying the application fee. Just press the big button below!

Thank you for your interest in the GNPS Habitat Certification program!

 

 

Certification Requirements

Silver

  • 1/3 of the entire property grounds in native plants representing 4 (four) or more categories listed below. There must be a minimum of 3 species in each of the four categories.
  • No cultivated Category 1-2 invasive plants and invasive plants must be in the process of being actively eradicated.
  • 4 out of 8 sustainable gardening practices.
  • In general, the habitat should be established for at least a year before being certified.

Gold

  • 2/3 of the entire property grounds in native plants representing 4 (four) or more categories listed below. There must be a minimum of 3 species in each of the four categories.
  • No cultivated Category 1-3 invasive plants and invasive plants must be in the process of being actively eradicated.
  • 4 out of 8 sustainable gardening practices.
  • In general, the habitat should be established for at least a year before being certified.
Native Plant Categories
  •  trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, vines, ferns/mosses/lichens, grasses/sedges, water/bog plants.
Sustainable Gardening Practices
  • Have features that support wildlife
  • Practice composting
  • Avoid using herbicides and pesticides
  • Capture and use rainwater
  • Use soaker hoses
  • Minimize lawn areas
  • Mulch or allow leaves to remain
  • Reduce use of fossil-fuel-powered lawn equipment

Have questions?

If you still have any questions about the program, email us at habitatcertification@gnps.org. We’d love to hear from you!

News & Events

Small Scale Gardening

Richard Lebovitz was awarded the Gold level for Native Plant Habitat Certification for his yard in Roswell. It is a great example of landscaping with natives in a small space. With the pond, waterfall, birdbath, bird feeders, and almost all native plants, Richard has...

read more

Gainesville Goes for the Gold

Sally Reynolds has created a native plant sanctuary on her sloping property in Gainesville. The trilliums and wood poppies are scattered under the trees and the Goldenrod, Rudbeckias, and Milkweeds are soaking up the sun by the road. The milkweed hosted Monarchs!...

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No Lawn Mower Needed

No lawn mower is needed on the Krause's property! With 98% of their half-acre lot landscaped in native plants there is no room or desire for even a small patch of lawn. By planting with mostly natives, Rick and Sandy Krause achieved the Gold level of the Native Plant...

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