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Every small backyard, or frontyard, or sideyard, can provide valuable natural habitat. Native plant garden choices include rain gardens, butterfly gardens, native plant borders, stop-over habitats for migrating birds, woodland gardens or formal plantings using natives.

The WPPC established the Garden Mapping Project, to further Doug Tallamy's goal of creating habitat corridors. Tallamy's book Bringing Nature Home proposes creating habitat corridors, utilizing “…mountain ridges, riparian corridors, cross-country power lines, roads and rangelands. …expand our traditional definition of a corridor, because the ones we have are not big enough. …Biological corridors must do more than facilitate movement—they must support life.”

Backyard native plant gardening is another important component of Tallamy's vision which he calls a “Backyard National Park”, eventually covering millions of acres. The WPPC invites and encourages you to tell us about your backyard garden so we can demonstrate patterns, numbers and sizes of properties that are already sharing in this effort.

This mapping project is an important tool to reveal locations, pathways and connectedness of properties with native plantings. It also identifies where there are gaps so that we can try to address them. There is significant national interest in Tallamy's habitat corridor concept. A budding Chicagoland region-wide initiative could serve as an example and inspiration for the rest of the country. The Garden Mapping Project provides an important tool to help us implement Tallamy’s vision.

Add your garden, large or small, to the WPPC Garden Mapping Project map! Tell us about your backyard native garden by downloading and returning our questionnaire today.