Native plants have adapted to regional soil, climate and weather extremes. They are the best sources of food and shelter for birds, butterflies and other pollinators and wildlife. They also reflect the beauty of our native prairies and forests and offer a sense of place that fits in with, and benefits, the broader natural environment.
What the Nebraska Statewide is doing to encourage native plants:
- We make native plants available. Our horticulture program focuses on growing native plants from hardy, regional seed source. We also grow adapted plants from other regions that can flourish in Nebraska’s challenging conditions.
- We motivate the marketplace. The arboretum helps educate individuals, nurseries and communities about how to grow and care for native plants through publications, presentations, demonstrations and our GreatPlants for the Great Plains program.
- We coordinate activities like Wildflower Week, early June events that bring together people who recognize the value of wildflowers—not only for their beauty but also for what they imply and symbolize. “Where wildflowers are thriving, it is a sign that the environment is healthy,” said Bob Henrickson, whose nursery concentrates on regional plants.
- We plant natives through our Greener Nebraska Towns program.
What you can do:
- Increase the diversity of plants, particularly natives, to maximize interest, resiliency and habitat
- Leave some debris through winter months as food and shelter for animals and insects
- Reduce mown areas with prairie, groundcovers or other less demanding plantings
- Become a member or donate
How your neighborhood, business or community can help:
- Organize a planting or sustainability project at a school, park, business or neighborhood
- Work toward ordinances that support native plants and more natural landscapes
- Apply for a Greener Nebraska Towns grant