The National Wildlife Federation has an extensive site dedicated to gardening for wildlife, including a native plant finder by zip code, created with help from Dr. Doug Tallamy of “Bringing Nature Home”, and how to certify your yard! A yard sign is a great way to show your neighbors what your yard is all about!

Native Plants for Landscapes
Jim McCormac’s native plant recommendations

Gardening for Life
Doug Tallamy’s excellent article about the importance of gardening with native plants, we wouldn’t be without it!

Nativars and Cultivars –  Cultivars are varieties of plants which are selectively bred for their appearance This article explains why nativars – cultivars of native species – are less advantageous to wildlife. Mt Cuba is doing research with Dr. Doug Tallamay to determine if nativars/cultivars still retain the needed characteristics as a larval host plant for Lepidoptera caterpillars to complete their (butterfly and moth) life cycle.

The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden
by Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy.

Native Plants for Sustainable Landscapes 
This list was generated by Donald Leopold

A Yard full of Native Plants is a Yard Full of Well-Fed Birds!
Narango and colleagues from the University of Delaware and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center studied Carolina Chickadee foraging behavior, monitored chickadee nest success, and counted caterpillars in the backyards of homeowners in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area participating in Neighborhood Nestwatch during the summer months in 2013 and 2014. Their research also showed that Carolina Chickadees raise more baby chickadees in yards with lots of native plants. But in yards with more non-native plants, the chickadees didn’t fare so well. In yards mostly consisting of non-native plants, baby birds didn’t survive because there wasn’t enough for them to eat.

Wild Ginger, Dutchman’s Breeches, Rusty-patched Bumble Bee. Artist Ann Geise.

Create a Backyard Woods, not matter what the size of your yard!     
From lush temperate rainforests in the Pacific Northwest to the semitropics of Florida, the woods are alive. Wooded land doesn’t have to cover hundreds or thousands of acres to harbor richness and diversity of life. Your backyard woods can be filled with crawling creatures, fascinating mushrooms, towering trees, and other living things. Perhaps you dream of sitting on a deck, overlooking lush green scenery. Or you may want to attract birds, deer, or other animals, or harvest special forest products or mature trees. You may even want to improve your land for your children and grandchildren. Whatever your vision, with a little planning and work, your backyard woods can be a true jewel to you, your family, and the wild creatures that depend on it. The effects of the things you do to manage your woods extend far beyond your property boundaries.

Here is another guide from the Arbor Day Foundation to help you build a backyard woods.

Home Habitat Enhancements Guidefrom the Cincinnati Nature Center
Why it Matters: Excellent inspirational and educational articles about how your choices make a HUGE difference!

MEEC Butterfly Host Plant List, Marianist Environmental Education Center

Native Plants for Pollinators
Heather Holm

Selecting Plants for Pollinators, Eastern Broadleaf Forest
Pollinator Partnership

Pollinator Conservation
Xerces Society

Nature Scoop Email News
You can invite butterflies, hummingbirds and songbirds to your yard and make a positive impact for our environment. Nature Scoop contains timely tips about simple steps you can take in your yard to help nature and why. It also lists educational events in the Ohio area related to backyard conservation.

 

Floristic Quality Assesment Index, B. Andreas, J. Mack, J. McCormac

“The Floristic Quality Assessment Index is a tool to objectively evaluate the quality of a given area/habitat, using the plants that are present. As such, the document includes what I think is still the most accurate and up-to-date list of Ohio’s plants, and whether they are native or not. Each native is ranked from 1 to 10. A common misconception is that the higher the number, the rarer the plant. The number only expresses a plant’s fidelity to a certain habitat. For instance, water-willow, Justicia americana, is a 9 even though it is common and easily found. But its habitat niche is very narrow, hence the high score. At the other extreme would be broad-leaved cattail, Typha latifolia, which scores a 1 – it can occur nearly anywhere there is moist soil and mostly open. The document can be found online by Googling Ohio FQAI.”  – Jim McCormac.