Butterfly Garden Contest

Inaugural Lana Edwards Garden of the Year Contest

NABA is pleased to introduce the inaugural Lana Edwards Garden of the Year Contest, named in honor of a long-time NABA member and supporter who passed away on November 2, 2023. Lana was one of the founders of the NABA-Atala chapter in Palm Beach County, FL, and a passionate butterfly gardener. The contest will highlight spectacular butterfly gardens from throughout North America. 

Lana Edwards

Lana was born in 1941 in Elkin, North Carolina, and moved to Boynton Beach, FL at the age of 16. She married her husband David Edwards in 1960 and they had two daughters. Lana worked as a bookkeeper at a law firm for 48 years before retiring in 2014.

Lana loved nature and especially spending time tending her beloved butterfly garden. She traveled all over Florida and across the U.S. to observe various butterfly species. Her love of butterflies inspired her to co-found the Atala Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association where she served as treasurer for 28 years. Lana also spent countless hours every year organizing the annual Palm Beach County butterfly counts, and was recently honored by Florida State Parks for an incredible 25 years of butterfly data collection at Highlands Hammock State Park.

Get Inspired

Butterfly Gardens come in many shapes and sizes. The most critical pieces are regionally appropriate plants that are host to local butterflies from the tropics, deserts, and coastal bluffs. Let’s see your garden too!

Contest Rules

Eligibility: Gardens of any size are eligible, from balcony and container gardens to public gardens. 

Judging: Gardens will be judged based on how well the space is used to support butterflies. Gardens must be visually pleasing as determined by the judges, and those that include a high percentage of native plants, offer nectar sources throughout the season, and provide caterpillar food plants will score the highest. 

Other Guidelines: Gardens must be managed with butterflies in mind, so avoiding pesticides and leaving spent plant material in planting beds will be considered positives.  

Entry Submission: To enter the contest, please complete the online application below, including submission of a minimum of three photos (maximum of five).

Deadline: Entries must be received no later than September 1, 2024 at 11:59pm ET. 

Honors: The winner will receive a durable and attractive garden plaque recognizing the Garden of the Year designation. The winning garden will be featured in the Winter 2024 issue of Butterfly Gardener, and here on our Butterfly Garden Contest page.

Questions: If you have questions, please consult our FAQ section below, and if your question is still unanswered, email it to [email protected] with subject line ‘Butterfly Garden of the Year Contest Question’ 

Meet the Judges

Karen Oberhauser

For almost 40 years, Karen Oberhauser and her students have conducted research on several aspects of monarch butterfly ecology; this research depends on traditional lab and field techniques, as well as the contributions of a variety of audiences through citizen science. In 1996, she started the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP), which continues to engage hundreds of volunteers throughout North America. As Director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum from 2017-2023, Karen built up a strong citizen science program that incorporated the MLMP and many other projects to engage the public in meaningful ecological data collection. She has also worked with K-12 teachers since her oldest daughter started kindergarten in 1992, using monarchs and the connections people feel for this amazing insect to promote greater understanding of science and conservation. Karen has authored over 100 papers on her research on monarchs, insect conservation, and participatory science. She has an undergraduate degree in biology from Harvard University, a degree in science education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a PhD in Ecology and Behavioral Biology from the University of Minnesota.
Karen is passionate about the conservation of the world’s biodiversity, and believes that connections between humans and butterflies promote meaningful conservation action. She is a founding officer of the Monarch Butterfly Fund and has served on several state and national organizations focused on pollinator conservation and citizen science. She has helped to create and sustain butterfly gardens everywhere she has lived and worked for the past 20 years.

Lana Edwards Garden of the Year Contest

Please fill out all the required fields to enter the contest. If you are not able to finish in one session, you can use the 'Save & Continue' button to save your work and complete your entry at a later time. You will be emailed a link to use when you're ready to complete your entry.

Address where the garden is located(Required)
All sizes are welcome from large fields to balcony container gardens!
Do you avoid the use of pesticides and herbicides?(Required)
Include any comments you'd like to add about pesticides and herbicides (optional).
Do you leave the leaves and spent plant matter in your winter garden beds?(Required)
Include any comments you'd like to add about leaving leaves and spent plant matter over winter (optional).

Plants and Butterflies in Your Garden

Plants in My Garden(Required)
Please list up to 30 plants in your garden, using the common names available at https://plants.usda.gov/home
Plant Name
Native to Your Region (Y/N)
Nectar Plant (Y/N)
Food Plant for What Caterpillar(s)
Butterflies in My Garden(Required)
Please list up to 30 butterflies you have seen in your garden, placing an X in the column noting the life cycle stage, and using the common names from NABA's Checklist of North American Butterflies: https://naba.org/butterfly-names-checklist/
Butterfly Name
Upload a minimum of three and a maximum of five photos of your garden. Minimum size 2MB, Maximum size: 10MB. Minimum resolution: 300 ppi.
Drop files here or
Max. file size: 10 MB, Max. files: 5.
    Show my garden on a public map?(Required)
    Precise address will not appear.

    Contest FAQ

    Contest entrants are not required to have a NABA Butterfly Garden Certification. 

    For those who would like to get their gardens certified by NABA, which supports NABA’s efforts at protecting imperiled butterflies and their habitats across North America, please do so here: https://naba.org/butterfly-gardens/certification-program/

    A minimum of three photos are required for entry, with a maximum of five

    Photos should be at least 2mb, and 300ppi

    Photos that include a butterfly, caterpillar, pupa or egg are not required but will be considered positives

     Yes. Submissions are open to gardens of any size and location, from balcony and container gardens to public gardens.

    No. Gardens can be any size from a large field to balcony containers. All are welcome to submit.

    The following are encouraged: plants that are native to your region, with a mix of nectar and caterpillar food plants. It’s also helpful to provide places for butterflies to survive the winter in various life cycle stages, such as fallen leaves, a brush pile, standing spent perennials, trees with loose bark or crevices.

    Commonly asked questions will be added here. If you do not see your question(s)/answer(s), please email [email protected] with your question(s).