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October 19-26, 2014

Native Plants & Our Environment

by Cindy Stone, NPSOT, Co-Chair, Texas Native Plant Week

Melampodium leucanthum, Blackfoot daisy

As I look around my yard and community, I become focused on the native plants and how they complement my overall goal of having a sustainable wildlife habitat. I research and note the native plants in my immediate area and take note of the native plants which support the wildlife in other areas in my surroundings. This becomes an adventure for me and I am thankful for the excellent resources within my reach.

Our native plants can provide benefits far beyond the scope of our imaginations.  The planting of milkweed varieties are essential in providing a larval source of Monarch butterflies as well as a nectar source. Their migrating populations are dwindling in numbers each year that passes. We need to provide our weary travelers with native milkweeds and native nectar plants. Consider certifying thru the University of Kansas Monarch Watch as a Monarch Waystation.

Expand your planting of native trees, shrubs, grasses, and wildflower species to provide seeds for the various birds thriving only on seeds. Native plants attracting insects provide food for the insectivore feeding habits of birds. Provide water sources not only for birds and wildlife that may venture into your native habitat but also for our native butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, and a host of pollinating insects. Consider certifying your yard and community areas as a National Wildlife Federation Habitat and Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Best of Texas Backyard Habitat and as a Texas Wildscapes demonstration site.

Most of all, share your endeavors with children. Let them be fascinated by the world of nature and its importance to the ecosystems in their environments.  The time spent with children exploring nature will last them a lifetime.

Native Plants = Healthy Habitats

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