Be A Habitat Hero

2014 HH award releaseBe A Habitat Hero


2014 Habitat Hero Garden Award Winners Announced!

Twenty-eight gardens, parks, and commercial landscapes spanning the Rocky Mountain region have been recognized as “Habitat Heroes” in the 2014 Awards sponsored by the Habitat Hero project, a project of Audubon Rockies and the Terra Foundation, in partnership with PlantSelect® and High Country Gardens. Winners include public gardens, schools, parks and trails, apartment/townhouse/condo complexes, landscapes designed by professionals, and residential yards and gardens from northern Wyoming to Southern Colorado, and from western South Dakota to Utah.

Twenty-three of the Habitat Hero awardees are in Colorado, with 13 of those in the Denver Metro area, another five in the northern Front Range (including two in Fort Collins), two in Colorado Springs, and three in rural Colorado, including Salida, Silverthorne, and Grand Junction. Wyoming claims two Habitat Hero awardees, one in Cheyenne and one in Powell. Utah has one in Salt Lake City, and two are in South Dakota, both in Rapid City.

Habitat Heroes use wildscaping to “plant a lifeline” for songbirds, pollinators and other imperiled wildlife—removing water-thirsty and sterile turf grass and restoring diverse habitat in gardens and landscapes, whether public, private or commercial. This year’s 28 Habitat Hero winners include examples from cities and suburbs, multiple family housing complexes and rural areas. The judges cited all for their creative habitat restoration, and recognized 12 as“Outstanding” examples, plus cited two more for special characteristics.

The Habitat Hero Awards exemplify founder of the Habitat Hero Project Connie Holsinger’s motto: “Plant it and they will come.” The project’s small staff likes to say it has a big mission:Grow a network of habitat for songbirds and pollinators in gardens across the Rocky Mountain sand beyond, save water, mitigate global climate change, and restore our joy in nature every day.

The Habitat Hero project encourages wildscaping, planting native and regionally-adapted plantsto restore habitat right at home. As the 2014 Habitat Hero award-winning gardens demonstrate, wildscapes are as different as the gardeners and designers who create them. They can be formal gardens, meadow-style expanses, flower-filled cottage borders, or natural landscapes. Whatever the style, a wildscape is based on five simple principles:

  • Create diverse layers and shelter
  • Grow natural food
  • Provide water for drinking and bathing
  • Control invasive species
  • Conserve water, energy and chemical use.

The 2014 Habitat Hero Awardees are (in alphabetical order by category):

Public Gardens


  • • Pinedale Elementary School, Rapid City, SD: “Outstanding School Garden”
 Contact: Malinda Chappel,, 605-394-1805
 4901 W. Chicago St., Rapid City, SD

Parks and Trails

  • • Monarch Spur Trail, Salida, CO: “Outstanding Park/Trail Project”
 Contact: Donna Rhoads, SPOT;, 719-221-4008
 P.O. Box 748, Salida, CO 81201
 Trail runs from Sackett & H Sts to Wal-Mart on Hwy 50, Salida, CO

Apartment/Townhome/Condo Complexes

  • • Cherry Creek 3 Homeowners Association: “Outstanding Multi-Family Development”
 Contact: Don Ireland, HOA President;, (720) 217-1310
 9224 E. Nassau, Denver, CO

Professional Landscapes (Designed by horticultural professionals, not necessarily open for public visits. Please contact first.)

Residential Yards and Landscapes (May be available for public visits. Please contact first.)

  • Alberty/Buschmann Yard, Salt Lake City, UT “Outstanding Residential Garden”
 Contact: Erin Alberty,
  • Aslakson Yard, Littleton, CO
 Contact: Lorrie Aslakson,, 303-284-5123
  • Bidgood Yard, Denver, CO “Special Recognition for Citizen Science”
 Contact: Jason Bidgood,
  • Blum Meadow, Silverthorne, CO
 Contact: Marcia Blum,, 303-489-7312
  • Bonahan Yard, Cheyenne, WY
 Contact: Michelle Bonahan,, 307-630-3120
  • Cappel Yard, Brighton, CO: “Outstanding Residential Garden”
 Contact: Mary & Pete Cappel,
  • Engelstad Yard, Rapid City, SD: “Outstanding Residential Yard”
 Contact: Louise Engelstad,
  • Freudenburg & White Yard, Colorado Springs, CO: “Outstanding Habitat Garden”
 Contact: Patti Freudenburg & Tony White,
  • Gaudet Prairie Restoration, Berthoud, CO
 Contact: Loni Gaudet,,
  • Hemenway Wildscape Yard, Fort Collins, CO
 Contact: Gayle Hemenway,, 970-407-0258
  • James Garden, Denver, CO
 Contact: Gordon T. James,
  • King Wildscape Garden, Lakewood, CO
 Contact: Carol King,, 303-455-8001
  • Morland Yard, Denver, CO 
 Contact: John Morland,, 303-618-0415
  • Piombino Garden, Boulder County, CO
 Contact: Pam and Joe Piombino,
  • Rose Wildscape, Powell, WY: “Outstanding Zone 4 Garden”
 Contact: Stephanie and Andy Rose,, 307-899-3322
  • Segrest and Beard Yard, Grand Junction, CO
 Contact: Jessica Secrets and Randy Beard,, (970) 255-8363
  • Stalls and Purner Yard, Denver, CO: “Special Recognition for Creativity”
 Contact: Jonathon Stalls,
  • Wasko Yard, Englewood, CO
 Contact: Barbara Wasko,, 303-781-0316

For more information and photos visit:

Join Audubon Rockies, Plant Select® and High Country Gardens in promoting wildscaping. Plant a life-line for songbirds and pollinators in your yard and neighborhood. Be a habitat hero!

Audubon Rockies

Habitat Hero Project

Plant Select

High Country Gardens