Want to help increase wildlife habitat and support your community at the same time? Have a native plant sale!
Native plants are plants that would naturally or historically be found in different regions, and therefore require less care and watering. They come in many colors, forms and sizes and there is sure to be a few that can be incorporated in to any landscape setting. Many, once established, require little maintenance and provide great habitat and food for wildlife. Native plants can be purchased as starter plugs in bulk from professional growers and potted up in larger pots or grown from seed depending on time and resources. Starter plugs are generally cheaper than full size plants and left overs not used for the sale can be planted on site.
Planning and hosting a native plant sale on your site is a great way to showcase wildlife habitat projects, build relationships and educate the local community on the importance of creating and enhancing wildlife habitat. Proceeds can be used to help fund habitat projects, educational programming or even support a local organization. Youth groups, such as Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brother and Big Sister Programs, schools, and sports teams, can all benefit from a local plant sale. Beneficiaries from the sale should be encouraged to be involved in the process to help with advertising the sale and planting and caring for the plants until they are ready to sell. This is an excellent time to incorporate the education component of the sale by explaining the importance of native plants, species characteristics, growing conditions, and proper planting techniques.
At New Beginnings – The Woodlawn Wildlife Area in Port Deposit, Maryland, the Wildlife Habitat Council and Bridgestone hosted its 3rd Annual Native Plant Sale and Benefit on May 7, 2011. Working with the Boys and Girls Club of Cecil County (BGCCC) for the last two years, the sale has supported several student scholarships to BGCCC camps and programs that may not have been possible without the support from the native plant sale. In the end, everyone benefits from the sale. The Boys and Girls Club receives conservation education, hands on instruction, and financial support; New Beginnings gains community support and recognition for the programs and habitat being held on site; the local citizens purchase native plants while supporting a great cause while enhancing habitat in their own backyard; and finally the community ends up with more native plants and increased biodiversity which benefit the local wildlife. The site also benefits from leftover plants since they can be planted right on site as part of a new or existing wildlife habitat project.
Native plant sales are a great way to kick off a successful season of wildlife management and conservation education. Consider including a native plant sale at your wildlife habitat site and share what you have learned about wildlife habitat with the surrounding community.