Help wildlife and earn rewards from the comfort of your own home! We can help wildlife thrive with small actions in our own back yards or adopted gardens. Download a form below and track your progress with simple checklists and tips from SMP experts.
1. Sign up and download a checklist form below.
2. Explore the participation form: there are four levels from which to choose. Find which level is right for you.
3. Keep track of your progress throughout the year on your form.
4. When you’ve completed all required steps, return the form to receive your rewards (see below for details).
A native plant is one that has traditionally existed in our region without introduction from another area. Native plants are critical to the wildlife that call Ohio home – they’ve evolved together to exist. Choosing a native plant over a non-native species makes a big impact on our ecosystem!
Find suggestions for swapping in native plants in our Guide to Common Invasive Plants
Check whether your plant is native on the USDA Plants Database
View a pdf listing of Complete Regional Native Plants
Invasive plants are all around us. They can crowd out beneficial native plants, so are best removed (or not planted in the first place). Use our tools to identify and manage invasive plants:
Guide to Common Invasive Plants
Complete Guide of Invasive Plants to Avoid
USDA Plants Database
Create an Invasive Plant Management Plan
Your yard is your escape, but it’s also a home for many other living creatures! Consider inviting wildlife into your yard with small adjustments to help them thrive. Here are resources to help you get started:
Bird collision reduction
Switch to bug bulbs
Host a rare species in your yard
Container gardening with native plants
See our program form for the full list of ways to improve habitat quality!
Traditional lawn practices are not always ecologically friendly. Wild Back Yards participants are invited to reduce their ecological footprint using several tactics outlined on the program form.
Consider these ideas:
Reduce lawn area
Install a rain barrel
Install a rain garden
Use ecologically friendly de-icers
Use natural soil amendments
Install soaker hose or drip line for garden irrigation
Employ responsible pharmaceutical disposal
Use integrated pest management
Compost yard waste and kitchen scraps
Properly dispose of household chemicals
Position tree/shrub plantings to optimize heating/cooling efficiency
Upcycle materials for yard features
Prevent erosion on property
Reduce impervious surface area
See our program form for the full list of ways to improve your ecological footprint!
Together, we can make a big impact! Share this program with a friend and show us your progress as you “Grow a Wild Back Yard.”
Install a free Wild Back Yards sign (available for pick-up at nature centers and the SMP administrative office)
Attend a free Wild Back Yards naturalist program
Track and post wildlife visitors on iNaturalist
Sign up for SMP volunteer information
Consider a donation to the SMP Foundation’s Conservation Fund
See our program form for the full list of ways to spread the word!
Rewards are free for Summit County residents. Out-of-county residents pay $10 for their Wild Back Yards rewards. Please note, all reward levels are available on a one-per-household basis.
Beginning July 5, turn in your form and receive your rewards at the park district's administrative offices (975 Treaty Line Rd., Akron 44313) during regular business hours.
Participants may also receive their rewards on any of the following Wild Back Yards reward dates. SMP naturalists and conservation staff will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about creating your Wild Back Yard.
F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm
September 1 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Summit Lake Nature Center
September 6 from 4 to 6 p.m.
Liberty Park Nature Center
September 9 from 10 a.m. to noon
F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm
September 15 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Download your form and sign up for this event!
Sign up to have Wild Back Yards information sent straight to your inbox!
Share Your Accomplishments