Encouraging Environmentally Sound Landscape Practices

Conservation@Home Cook County recognizes and certifies properties that demonstrate environmentally sound landscape practices. Through the Conservation@Home certification program, residents of Cook County have the opportunity to shape their private and community landscapes in a conservation-minded way with guidance and criteria provided for them. Below you will find criteria for homes, schools, and community settings. 

This program is brought to you by the partnership of Forest Preserves of Cook County and University of Illinois Extension.

Cook County Yard Certification Process

For a one-time fee of $50, certified gardeners will receive a Conservation@Home sign to post in their yard, a subscription to our seasonal newsletter, and early notifications/discounts during native plants sales. *Fee waivers are available for those with financial needs. 

Steps for Certification:
  1. Resident submits application.
  2. Conservation@Home program staff review application.
  3. If applicant is not ready for certification, resources are provided.
  4. If applicant is ready for certification, resident pays $50 fee.
  5. Resident schedules a yard/property visit.
  6. C@H evaluators visit property.
  7. If criteria is met, Conservation@Home sign is awarded to resident.

Please note: we will be pausing evaluations from November 2023 - March 2024. We will still be welcoming applications and new members during this time. We'll simply wait to schedule evaluations until the springtime.

It can be difficult for us to evaluate sites when many plants have gone to bed for the winter, so we'll be picking back up once hibernation is over! Questions? Contact Elizabeth McDermott at emm13@illinois.edu.



Cook County Conservation@Home Criteria


Conservation@Home on the Road

Request Conservation@Home programming for your next event! Our knowledgeable staff and volunteers can offer presentations and host tables to help spread the program's message throughout Cook County.



MWRD Offers Free Wildflower Seeds

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) has an amazing initiative where Cook County residents can take a pledge to plant wildflowers, and in exchange, they will receive a free wildflower seed packet in the mail.

Native wildflowers have deep roots that absorb rainwater and reduce flooding and runoff to rivers and streams. Wildflowers also serve as habitat for pollinators. 

Take the pledge and receive your own wildflower seeds to benefit your community.

Conservation@Home is a program of The Conservation Foundation. University of Illinois Extension is pleased to be a partner.