Monarch butterfly resting on red flower
Monarch butterfly resting on a coleus plant in a home garden in St. Louis, Missouri. Image credit: Kathy T. on Community of Gardens.

Here at Smithsonian Gardens, we’re WILD about wildlife—the birds, bees, insects, and helpful critters that contribute to our garden, community, and planet health. That’s why we’re so excited to announce our first Community of Gardens Community Collaborators, the National Wildlife Federation Garden for Wildlife program. Garden for Wildlife certifies home, school, and civic gardens as Certified Wildlife Habitat®, Schoolyard Habitats, Community Wildlife Habitats®, and Butterfly Heroes™ and provides educational and advocacy resources on habitat gardening. Community of Gardens is a digital archive, the Smithsonian’s home for collecting stories from gardeners all around the country to preserve for future generations of gardeners and historians. Anyone can share a story and we look forward to working with Garden for Wildlife to collect and share stories of habitat gardens.

This spring, Smithsonian Gardens opened our first ever Smithsonian-wide outdoor exhibit. “Habitat” encompasses fourteen mini exhibits spread across the museum gardens on the National Mall, solidifying a commitment to creating a haven for wildlife in Washington, D.C. and educating visitors from around the nation on the environmental and health benefits of habitat gardening. Whether is it providing habitat in the gardens surrounding the Smithsonian museums, providing tips for home gardeners, or collecting stories of wildlife gardens for our Archives of American Gardens and Community of Gardens archives, Smithsonian Gardens believes “protecting habitats protects life.”

How can you support wildlife habitat in your own garden and get involved with our newest Community Collaborators initiative on Community of Gardens?

  • Learn more about certifications from the National Wildlife Federation Garden for Wildlife program.
  • Visit the Smithsonian Gardens outdoor “Habitat” exhibit on the National Mall—the Bug B&Bs are a must-see!
  • Do you already have a Garden for Wildlife certification? Share your story with the Community of Gardens digital archive of garden stories and help us preserve garden history. We want to hear from you! It’s as easy as emailing us any photos and videos you’d like to share, as well as a story about your garden. We recommend 300-800 words, but you can share as much as you’d like about a garden. We collect stories about backyards, balcony gardens, community gardens, public gardens, gardens of the past—any garden.
  • Interested in becoming a Community Collaborator? Community Collaborators are environmental non-profits, garden clubs and societies, libraries, museums, and other organizations dedicated to greening their communities. Email us at for more information.

We hope you’ll join us in getting WILD about wildlife as we welcome the National Wildlife Federation Garden for Wildlife program as a new supporter and collaborator to Community of Gardens.