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News: The State of Ohio Designates April as “Ohio Native Plant Month”

 

September 24, 2019

GCA club member Nancy Linz coordinated this state-wide support.

Native plants are part of an intricate, balanced web, that help filter and clean our drinking water, remove contaminants from the air we breathe, cool planet earth, and feed the bees that pollinate most food crops. This summer, House Bill 59 of the 133rd Ohio General Assembly was signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine designating the month of April as Ohio Native Plant Month. With this legislation, the state of Ohio became one of the first states in the country to designate one month each year to recognize native plants and the essential role they play. GCA club member Nancy Linz shepherded House Bill 59 from the idea stage to the paper document that landed on Governor DeWine’s desk in July. 

One year ago, Nancy Linz, a member of The Garden Club of Cincinnati, was forwarded an email that simply asked if Ohio should have a week or month dedicated to native plants like a few other states. The person who posed this interesting question was former First Lady of Ohio, Hope Taft. Interested in both horticulture and education, Nancy was excited by this potential opportunity to help others understand the value of native plants. But as a life-long gardener with no background in politics, where does one begin? 

Working with Hope Taft and a few others, Nancy began by creating a list of at least one person from as many green organizations in the state as possible, including garden club members, master gardeners, nurseries, landscapers, garden centers, zoos, nature centers, arboretums, parks, and many more. This list became the foundation of a true grass-roots effort that ultimately lead to the success of the legislation. 

Over the year, this list grew to 1000 strong and represented a diverse cross-section of the green industry from all areas of the state. These individuals passed information to their organizations, wrote letters to Ohio State Senators and State Representatives, and provided formal letters of support and proponent testimony for the legislation.

One year later, House Bill 59 of the 133rd Ohio General Assembly was signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine, designating the month of April as Ohio Native Plant Month. To celebrate this legislation, organizations across Ohio are planning activities for next April including planting native trees, removing invasive plant species that compete with native plants, planting nectar plants for our pollinators, or working with schools to help educate our future gardeners about the value of Ohio native plants.

Find more information on the Ohio Native Plant Month website.

Seated: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine; Standing from left to right: Ben James, Legislative Aide to Representative Scott Wiggam, Representative Scott Wiggam, Ohio Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, Senator Bob Hackett, Former First Lady of Ohio, Hope Taft, and Horticulturist, Nancy Linz. 

Photo Provided Courtesy of the Office of Ohio Governor, Mike DeWine.

 

 

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