Programs

2024 Native Plant Backyard Challenge

Programs

2024 Native Plant Backyard Challenge

MISSION

The mission of the Native Plant Backyard Challenge (NPBYC) is to promote community science through education and hands-on experiential learning about native plants and wildlife by recruiting households to transform their back (or front!) yards into native habitats. The challenge works to ensure that participants learn simple cost-effective steps to create native habitat, and become ambassadors for birds and native plants in their community.

OVERVIEW

The Grange Insurance Audubon Center (GIAC) and Columbus Audubon (CA) teamed up in 2021 to create the Native Plant Backyard Challenge. To date, over 500 households have taken the challenge spanning 47 zip codes across Ohio. We’re looking for new and returning households in central Ohio who would like to transform or further develop their outdoor spaces into native wildlife habitats. The NPBYC will include access to resources to be successful in the challenge, workshops to provide information about the world of native plants, gardening, and biodiversity, and plenty of opportunities to engage with the challenge community. 

REGISTRATION (Sign up HERE!)

New Challenge Participant (not returning) - $35.00

Returning Challenge Participant (must have participated in 2021, 2022, or 2023 challenge) - $30.00

Why Should I Return?

This year we are providing additional workshops for returning participants to expand your native plant knowledge. If you took part in the challenge in previous years and are wondering what comes next, these workshops will guide you through some next steps into the world of native plant gardening.

*Those registering also have the option to become a Grange Insurance Audubon Center, Columbus Audubon, National Audubon Society member as an individual or family. Click here to become a member! Already a GIAC, CA, NAS member - contact Allison Clark at allison.clark@audubon.org to check your membership expiration date and renew easily online.

 

TIMELINE OF EVENTS

January 25 - Registration

Upon registration, participants will receive a digital planning guide. The guide includes a planting plan worksheet, a list of online resources, and a species checklist. A survey will also be sent out for registrants to submit “before” photos and provide info about their yards and goals for the challenge. The survey will also include an invite to the NPBYC Facebook group, which is a fantastic resource to ask questions and share progress with fellow participants. 

April 7 - Kick-off Event

The kick-off event will include a presentation from Tisa Watts, an eco-educator on plants and backyard biodiversity, on choosing and installing native plants from our region. Michael Keeler of Ohio Native Concepts will introduce the Matrix planting technique to assist you in maximizing the amount of biodiversity per square foot in your gardens. Participants can pick up a toolkit at this event containing helpful tools, seeds, and info for completing the challenge.

April 17 - Native Food Forests: Maintaining Biodiversity Ecologically and in our Diets, Presentation from Sean McKay of Franklin Park Conservatory

Sean McKay will be giving a lecture on native food forests, with a focus on what a food forest is, the effects it can have in an urban environment, permaculture, and what native plants can be incorporated in central Ohio. Sean is the Growing to Green Coordinator at Franklin Park Conservatory with a wide range of experiences and education in horticulture, urban farming, landscape design, community outreach, and activism. He's passionate about sharing his love of the natural world and empowering people to grow their own food. Sean is also an active returning participant in the Native Plant Backyard Challenge! 

May 5 - Native Plant Sale

The plant sale provides participating households with an opportunity to buy some of the native plants they are learning about. Multiple vendors will be selling plants at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center. Michael Keeler and Tisa Watts continue the design discussion with a presentation on plant communities, care and maintenance concerns, and potential wildlife issues. 

August (TBD) - NPBYC Garden Tour

All will be welcome to tour the gardens of fellow challenge participants as the gardening season is at its peak. This will be a great way to showcase the successes of the challenge!

September 8 - End of Challenge Celebration

This date will mark the official end of the challenge and a celebratory event will be held at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center. Participants will be able to share about the before/after effects of their native plants and celebrate the successes of the challenge!

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*If you are interested in participating in the upcoming 2024 NPBYC but the fee may be cost prohibitive, please reach out to Fiona McCarthy (GIAC Engagement Coordinator, Stewardship) at fiona.mccarthy@audubon.org to request to be placed on our sponsorship wait list. Sponsorship inquiries will be filled as sponsorship opportunities arise. You will be notified via email as soon as your request can be filled. 

*If you are interested in sponsoring a household, there is a ticket option on our registration page that allows you to purchase a ticket for another household. To be clear, by purchasing this ticket option you will ONLY be sponsoring a household to take part in the challenge and will NOT be a participant yourself. If you would like to participate in the challenge AND sponsor a household, you will have to purchase both a regular ticket and a sponsorship ticket. If you purchase a sponsorship ticket and there is no household to claim it, the payment will act as a donation to the challenge and the center. 


 

GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE 2024 NPBYC? Please contact Fiona McCarthy, GIAC Stewardship Engagement Coordinator, at fiona.mccarthy@audubon.org

 

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