National Leave the Leaves Month

You might think that gardening for wildlife is only something you do during spring and summer, but there are things you can do to attract and support beautiful butterflies, bees and birds year-round. A new National Wildlife Survey has found Most People are open to Leaving Leaves to Benefit Wildlife. To raise awareness, we have launched National Wildlife Federation's Leave the Leaves Month as a terrific time to keep active in your garden in the fall to make it even better for the multitude of wildlife species that need fallen leaves and other organic yard debris as habitat. Read on to find out how!

What it is:

Strategic placement of leaves and yard debris to help wildlife in garden beds, under tree canopies, and compost piles for the following benefits:

  • Provides Habitat - Fallen leaves, dried stems, grasses and fallen twigs provide essential cover for many types of wildlife to survive the coming colder months.
  • Keeps Organic Matter Out of Landfill - Leaving leaves can help reduce the volume of organic material being sent to landfills and the amount of greenhouse gasses (methane) contributing to climate change.
  • Keeping Leaves Saves You Money and Time - Leaving the leaves does not require bagging and piling leaves into the street for pick up. Fallen leaves are natural mulch and fertilizer for your landscape. It’s a form of recycling/reusing.

What is not:

Leaving the Leaves is NOT about leaving leaves and debris all over lawns and drive ways or sidewalks. It’s about using fallen leaves on your property in ways that support the natural world rather than throwing them away.


Five Ways to Make a Difference



1. Certify Your Fall Habitat.

Leaving leaves and other fall garden practices provides food, cover and places for wildlife to raise young. These elements, with some simple extra steps can qualify your yard, garden or outdoor space as a Certified Wildlife Habitat® while supporting wildlife through colder months of the year. When you certify you join the movement of natural gardeners and help spread the message that we can all help create habitat for our local wildlife. Use this Fall Gardening Checklist to get started!

10% Fall Sale Certify and Save with Code Fall10; Ends October 31

Receive 10% off your total when you certify and purchase any Certified Wildlife Habitat® signThis is a limited-time offer available online only through October 31, 2023.

Promo Code: FALL10

Certification benefits include:

• A personalized certificate
• One year of National Wildlife Federation membership
• Six bi-monthly issues of National Wildlife® magazine
• Monthly Garden for Wildlife e-newsletter

Planting its initial seeds in 1973, the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife™ program and its signature Certified Wildlife Habitat® initiative have taken root by educating and inspiring wildlife heroes across the country.

Your certification will help us reach 300,000 sites in our program’s 50th anniversary year!

2. Learn More and Educate Others.

Educate your local municipality, HOA on wildlife friendly and neighbor friendly landscaping practices all year long.

3. Sign Up for Our Newsletter.

Each month, you’ll get tips, tricks, and stories from across the country on how to attract wildlife to your yard or garden.

Sign up now — one lucky winner will receive a Bat Box.

4. Order Beautiful Native Shrubs Now and Pre Order Plant Collections Shipped to Your Door Next Spring.

Bird on American beautyberry shrub and Garden for Wildlife Plant with a Purpose shipping box

Fall is one of the best times to plant! Get chemical-free native plants that bloom for three seasons and return every year. Collections are backed by science to help the highest number of declining wildlife species. Now available for 38 states with free shipping. Get yours today! currently offers native plants for 38 states in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and Midwest. The goal is to expand the network of growers and offer native plants for everyone. Fall shrubs available in select states; check site for availability.

5. Get Social and Tell Us "How Does your Garden Grow?"

Be a Leave the Leaves champion and show us your Fall Habitats! Post photos of your wildlife gardens/activity with the hashtag #GardenforWildlife and look for your native garden pics on our social wall.  Connect with the Garden for Wildlife community to share your story. 

Follow @gardenforwildlife on Instagram 
and TikTok
Join the Garden for Wildlife Facebook group
Follow @Garden4Wildlife on Twitter


Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

Learn More