In 1977, in Milwaukee, nine people attended a natural-landscaping workshop led by Lorrie Otto, and became intensely interested in the new concept of landscaping with native plants. The enthusiasm of these nine people blossomed into an organization that eventually became known as Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes.
When first organized, the organization was known as Wild Ones Natural Landscapers.
In 1990, Wild Ones Natural Landscapers Ltd. was organized under Articles of Incorporation – Non-stock Corporation Law, Chapter 181 of the Wisconsin Statues.
In 1995, Wild Ones was granted exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code for educational purposes.
Recognizing the need to grow beyond the original Milwaukee Chapter of Wild Ones (Milwaukee-North) and a few other chapters, in 1995, the organization formed a national board and elected national officers.
In 2000, in order to accommodate organization growth, facilitate decision making, and enhance communication with the chapters, the size of the national board was increased to include 15 elected at-large members, and an executive committee was formed. Except for the Executive Director and the "Wild Ones Journal" editor, all members of the executive committee, the board of directors, and the committee chairs are volunteers.
The national board approved a new name for Wild Ones. The legal name remains Wild Ones Natural Landscapers Ltd., but for purposes of more clearly aligning the name with the organization's mission, the organization is now referred to as Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes.
In 2004, the state of Wisconsin recognized Wild Ones as an exemplary organization, in honor of its 25th anniversary.
In 2008, Wild Ones celebrated the purchase of the Wild Ones Institute of Learning and Development (WILD Center). Located in Neenah, Wisconsin, the WILD Center comprises 16 acres of upland, riparian woodland and marsh, along with a building perfectly suited for the national headquarters.
In 2009, Wild Ones celebrated their 30th anniversary in Milwaukee, back where it all started.
In early 2010, Wild Ones has several thousand members with over 50 chapters around the country. Click here for full chapter information.