The coolest yards are pollinator-friendly. There are many little things you can do to clean up our water, provide natural habitat and create healthy landscapes for people and wildlife. You can save money, mow less, see more birds and butterflies and enjoy a functioning yard with less effort. If you have ever wanted to add diversity to your lawn and support the environment, The Natural Land Institute is here to help with Conservation@Home.


Examples of local Conservation@Home participants. Click to enlarge photos.

There are lots of simple ways to make your yard eco-friendly, you may already practice some:

  • Create a butterfly or rain garden with native plants
  • Have a compost bin or pile
  • Use organic fertilizers and pesticides
  • Remove invasive vegetation
  • Provide bird feeders
View Checklist


Once you check off 10 items on the list, you can be certified. Certification includes a site visit by Natural Land Institute Stewardship Staff and an official Conservation@Home yard sign. The yard sign is a great way to let neighbors and passerby know the reason behind your yard choices, and to spread the word about increasing conservation!

The requested donation for the program is $25 for current members of Natural Land Institute.  For non-members, a $50 donation will award participation in the Conservation@Home program and includes a one-year membership to Natural Land Institute.

If you are interested in making your property a Conservation@Home site, contact Kim Johnsen at Natural Land Institute for more information (815) 964-6666 or email
Not yet ready to call for property certification, but still interested in transitioning to a greener landscape?  Here are some easy ways to get started:


Shop Native Seeds at Wild Ones


  • Go Native. When choosing new plants for your yard and garden, consider native plants. The use of native plants is key to any environmentally friendly landscape.  The deep roots reach far into the ground requiring less water, help reduce erosion and absorb and filter rainwater.
  • Save Water. Rain barrels can capture water that falls on your property so that you can put it to good use later watering lawns and gardens. Rain barrels also help reduce run off that collects pollutant as it drains into our rivers and streams.
  • Say No to Invasives. Non-native species compete with and sometimes choke out more beneficial native species. Choose native plants, shrubs and trees or actively work on reducing already invasive plants on your property.
  • Cut Back on Harmful Chemicals. Work to reduce or eliminate the use of fertilizers, weed treatments, salt and other chemicals that are harmful to birds, bees, fish and other animals.


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