Keep America Beautiful Promotes Planting of Native Species

Keep America Beautiful (KAB) marked the country’s first-ever National Planting Day by encouraging Americans to plant and re-plant native species. Native species are more naturally adapted to local ecosystems in comparison to ornamental and exotic plants that usually put a greater pressure on the environmental resources such as land and water.

Keep America Beautiful supports activities and programs to encourage Americans to plant native species of trees, plants and flowers. It aims to raise awareness in the general public as well as the agencies responsible for plantation about the significance of native species in restoring local environmental balance, while enhancing the vibrancy and beauty of the communities.

It helps to understand the crucial importance of native species for the local environments. In absence of this understanding, native species have already suffered loss of habitat to ornamental plants and invasive species. Native plants are important to attract insects and specialized pollinators, which provide key support to various birds and animals in the food chain. Native species are hardier, need less water and maintenance, and help create an ideal habitat for wildlife.

Matthew M. McKenna, President and CEO of Keep America Beautiful, says: “Seemingly small choices can have huge impacts on our environment, including choosing to plant only with native species. Through National Planting Day, we hope to build nationwide momentum and grassroots advocacy for sustainable beautification and community greening practices. The benefits cannot be ignored.”

An average home gardener or a municipal leader, everyone can become a part of the environmental beautification programs simply by committing to use native species for their planting efforts. PlantNative.org is an excellent online resource for planters and gardeners. It offers a searchable database of native species as well as nurseries and community organizations that can help in this endeavor.

Keep America Beautiful is promoting the effort this fall in association with the People’s Garden Initiative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This simple practice of planting natives will help the environment by preventing soil erosion, improving water conservation and facilitating a natural habitat for wildlife.

Photo Credit: spekulator