American (Red-breasted) robin perching on the rim of a large, brown saucer filled with water and leaves. The ground in the background is  leaf debris with patterns of alternating light and shade.

Protect all species while they are common so they do not become endangered.

Rosalie Barrow Edge

American Environmentalist, 1877-1962.

Grey squirrel sitting on a tree branch with leaves in the background

Our Mission is to empower homeowners to provide more ecologically sound land in their yards.

Wildergarden, Inc.

Wildergarden, Inc. is a Domestic Nonprofit Corporation. Our non-profit (public benefit) organization was “born” at the Indiana Office of the Secretary of State on Feb. 11, 2022. Our purposes are exclusively charitable and educational.

Our 501(c)3 designation means that donations to support our mission are tax-deductible!

Why Wildergarden?

Ecosystem! Wooden Wildergarden sign in foreground with brown leaves and snow covering the ground. There are several small trees and a large and house in the background behind the sign.

Get to know the vision, core values, and priorities of Wildergarden, Inc., and learn some key terms!

How We Wildergarden

A blue rain barrel full of rainwater standing against a red brick wall with green grape vine cascading along the wall

Check out the principles and practices we live by at Wildergarden!

Statement of Purpose

Statement of Purpose

Our dream is to inspire, empower and guide other central Indiana homeowners to do nature restoration. Indiana was mostly forested before European settlement. Over the last two centuries, forests have been fragmented into small pieces by development. You can read more about this history HERE.

We believe that even small private land parcels can be restored into valuable biological places in and of themselves, and  collectively into a large area across our county and state functioning as a forest garden. Our community  strategy is to link yards, parks and greenways into an ever-increasing network of ecologically-connected acreage. We use inventories and mapping to document the ecological improvements, and share what we have learned to help inform others in their own restoration process.

To this end, we seek measurable benefits in the following areas:

Plant and Animal Diversity
  • People plant more native trees in their yard.
  • Birds and wildlife currently classified as vulnerable or endangered will not become extinct, and will move to lower threat level.
Environmental Improvements
  • Fragmented habitats support each other’s biodiversity.
  • Year-round support exists for a variety of pollinating and soil-dwelling insects.
  • Less runoff of stormwater, soil and agrochemicals from yards into local streams and rivers.
  • Conservation practices become widely used.
  • Air quality is measurably and noticeably improved.
  • People include environmental protection in the family budget.
Economic Benefits
  • Trees and wildflowers increase real estate value.
  • Trees improve the economic value of our economy, by storing carbon from the atmosphere.
  • Lower annual heating and cooling costs due to windbreaks and shade.
Increased Human Health and Wellbeing
  • Enjoyment of nature each time you enter and leave your home.
  • Forest provides a healing environment for the human body, especially immune- compromised individuals.
  • Birdwatchers will see increased diversity of birds on their patios and in local parks.

Members of the Board

Julia Wilder

Julia Wilder

President and Founder

Julia is a gardener. She graduated from Hilltop Garden and Nature Center in Bloomington at age 12. Julia enjoyed a career as an agricultural attorney. Her passion in life is Indiana land and all its inhabitants. She has lived at Wildergarden since 1990, becoming a self-taught forester. She holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Indiana University-Bloomington, where she published her legal research about the Great Lakes watershed. In addition to experience with sustainable gardening, agriculture and water issues, she is an Indiana Master Naturalist, LEED Green Associate and an Environmental Habitat Steward. Her goal at Wildergarden is to empower urban residential forestry to become mainstream and to see that nature restoration practices are increasingly adopted and accepted by the public.

Anne Murphy

Anne Murphy

Secretary, Founding Board Member

Anne is a retired high school and college English teacher. She is currently an artist, writer, and gardener in Indianapolis. She first got involved with ecology in her school science fair projects. Now, she actively promotes native plants and wildlife in her yard in Glendale. Anne’s interest in the yard as a canvas brought her to the Wildergarden in 2000. Her specialty is bringing color and artistry into the natural habitat to help add year-round interest. 

Miriam Murphy

Miriam Murphy

Vice President, Founding Board Member

Miriam is a lifelong resident of the Broad Ripple area and lover of the outdoors. Her childhood, spent tromping through forests and exploring creeks, led her to receive  Bachelor’s degrees in Environmental & Sustainability Studies and Anthropology from Indiana University- Bloomington in 2021. She met Julia and became involved with the Wildergarden in the spring of that year. Her interest is connecting people through time and space to the world in which they live– from a hyper-local level to a global ecological level, and from deep history to the present. When she’s not at the Wildergarden, Miriam can be found growing vegetables at Full Hand Farm, cooking, or making music with her husband and friends.

Wildergarden Advisors

Adam Lorch

Adam Lorch

Forestry Advisor

Adam holds a Master of Science in Forestry from Purdue University. He has advised a varied assortment of Indiana environmental advocacy non-profit organizations. 

According to Adam, people will be surprised to see how much habitat they can grow in their yards, and how multifaceted the potential is. An example is having a woods with paw paw and persimmon trees at an urban home. This offers options for the next generation to manage the soil in their yards.

Certification, Funding, and News Coverage

Wildergarden is certified as a backyard wildlife habitat through the National Wildlife Federation. It has received cost-share funds from the Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District. It has been covered by local media, including the Indianapolis Star.

Logo saying "Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District"
Sign saying Certified Wildlife Habitat. Food, water, cover, places to raise young. This property is recognized for its commitment to sustainably provide the essential elements of wildlife habitat. https://www.nwf.org/Garden
Logo of the Indianapolis Star newspaper website