In the Zone

Through In the Zone you will be outside getting your hands dirty creating native habitat for wildlife. You will be part of transforming some area of campus, big or small, by planting native plants and reconnecting gardens and green spaces to the natural landscape. No experience required.  Planting even one native plant will make a difference.

Planting native plants will help reverse biodiversity loss

Gardening is a popular way that people connect to nature in urban areas. Yet, overtime, gardens have lost their connection with the natural landscape, instead becoming showcases for a variety of plants, most of which are non-native and even invasive. This isn’t good for native birds, bees and butterflies that co-evolved with native plants; in fact, the imported varieties we normally plant often have little food or habitat value for wildlife.

Help your campus become part of a healthy and resilient future for native species and people, too. By adding native plants to your campus green spaces and gardens, you can improve biodiversity and watch as wildlife return. You can start with a small area on campus, or work on a larger project. As part of In the Zone your campus team will:

  • Grow healthy natural habitat for native species
  • Track your impact on biodiversity
  • Connect with gardeners and celebrate healthy native habitat

Create healthy native habitat, one native plant at a time

If your campus is in southern Ontario’s Carolinian ecozone, you can join In the Zone and start making a difference for native wildlife. When you join, you’ll be connected to a community of fellow gardeners creating healthy, resilient ecosystems for all species. Creating healthy habitat is easy. You can start with a small area on campus or work on a larger project. Even if you’ve never picked up a trowel before, all the tips and tools you need to get started can be found at In the Zone – just add some native plants, a few basic tools and lots of enthusiasm, and soon you will be creating gardens that help native species thrive!

Creating healthy habitat with native plants is easy. To get started, download the Easy to Grow Native Plants List for your ecoregion. You can convert a small area on campus or work on a larger project. Every native plant you add will help to increase the health and resilience of your campus landscape for native wildlife and people too.

Plant big or small, many or one

Getting started

  1. Find your EcoZone & choose plants

    If you are in southern Ontario's Carolinian zone, visit InTheZoneGardens.ca for everything you need, from starting your plan to tracking your results. If you’re outside the Carolinian zone, download the Easy Grow Native Plant Guide for Canada.
  2. Get permission to plant

    An easy first step is to get permission to add native plants to existing campus planters and gardens. Contact the Campus Sustainability Office for help in connecting with Facilities and Property management and identifying the best locations to plant.
  3. Set garden goals

    Set goals for your garden, including which birds, butterflies and bees you want to help. Track your changes, report your results and celebrate. Share tips and plants, connect with others who want to create healthy habitat.

Why participate

Project planning and implementation

Gain great experience in planning and bringing your project to life. No matter the size, your project will literally grow before your eyes; watch for the wildlife that prefer native plants.

Increase your knowledge and skills

Learn about the value of native plants to wildlife and how to create garden habitats that are healthy and more resilient to climate change.

Make connecting to nature a part of campus life

Making your campus more nature-friendly is a satisfying experience and provides both physical and mental health benefits. Even if you are new to gardening, dig in and get your hands dirty. Planting even one native plant will make a difference.

Living Planet Leader

Students who lead or join projects growing native habitat will gain recognition under the Leadership and Teamwork category in Living Planet Leader as well as contribute hours to Volunteerism requirements.