Help nature thrive wherever you are

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Through In The Zone you will be outside getting your hands dirty creating native habitat for wildlife. You will create a garden, 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.

Don’t have a garden bed, only a small outdoor space? No problem! You can build your very own native plant container garden. Watch this video to learn how easy it is.

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

Across Canada, creating healthy habitat with native plants is easy. To get started, download the Easy to Grow Native Plants List for your ecoregion. You can start with a small area where you live, where you learn, on campus or at work. Or, go for a larger project! Every native plant you add will help to increase the health and resilience of your landscape for native wildlife and people, too.

If you are 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. Even if you’ve never picked up a trowel before, all the tips and tools you need to get started can be found at  –soon you will be creating gardens that help native species thrive!

Plant big or small, many or one

How-to steps

  1. Step 1

    Find your EcoZone & choose plants

    Use the Ecozones & Easy Grow resource to find your ecozone and learn which plants are suitable for your area. If you are in southern Ontario's Carolinian zone, visit for everything you need, from starting your plan to tracking your results.
  2. Step 2

    Get permission to plant

    Make sure the others who share your space are on board with your project. Whether that means your parents, your roommates or landlord, it’s a good idea to tell them what you want to do and why it’s important. For projects on campus grounds, contact the Campus Sustainability Office for help in connecting with facilities and property management and identifying the best locations to plant.
  3. Step 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

Gain great experience, increase your knowledge and skills and enjoy that special feeling that helping nature inspires!

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 space 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.