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Promoting The Use of Native Plants


April 05, 2023

GCA Collaborations Help Establish Native Plant Month Across the Country

In the fall of 2022, the GCA launched a nationwide, multidisciplinary, cross-committee collaboration to promote native plants by formally establishing a Native Plant Month in all fifty states. Led by the Conservation, Horticulture, and National Affairs and Legislation committees, volunteers from across the country worked towards the goal of increasing recognition of the critical role native plants play in supporting a healthy environment, thriving wildlife and pollinator populations, reducing use of pesticides and fertilizers, cleaning air and water, and so much more.
Enlisting the assistance of all 199 GCA member clubs and nearly 18,000 club members as well as local leaders and organizations, the initiative sought to help build awareness about the importance of native plants in sustaining ecosystems, encourage the removal of non-native, invasive plants, and support all efforts to help native bees, butterflies, birds, other pollinators, and wildlife. A significant number of North American native species, including insects, caterpillars, birds, and other animals, are at risk of extinction because they cannot eat non-native plants. In addition, habitat loss, the use of invasive species, climate change, and pesticide use are contributing to their steep decline.
By encouraging their particular state to declare April as Native Plant Month, GCA member clubs and club members sought to encourage local residents to engage and make a difference right at home. The response has been overwhelming. To date, the following states have joined the initiative, declaring April as Native Plant Month:  Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. 

What can you do to become a part of this initiative? As you plan your spring landscaping and gardens, include native plants in all your beds. Reduce or eliminate pesticides and herbicide use to create a healthy environment for plants and pollinators. Remove invasive plants from your yard and make room for native plants. Learn more about stellar North American native plants by exploring winners of the GCA's Plant of the Year award.
This incredible endeavor comes on the heels of several other efforts involving the GCA and its member clubs. In 2019, two GCA club members from Ohio were instrumental in securing passage of an Ohio law that designated the month of April as Ohio Native Plant Month. This legislation made Ohio one of the first states in the country to have an entire month dedicated to native plants. Additionally, in 2022, Ohio garden club members worked with Senators Rob Portman (Ohio R) and Mazie Hirono (Hawaii D) to pass a resolution making April National Native Plant Month. The bi-partisan resolution recognized the importance of native plants to environmental conservation and restoration, as well as supporting diverse wildlife. 
Last year, the Native Plant Species Pilot Program Act was passed via the Omnibus Spending Bill. Endorsed by the GCA, the Native Plant Species Pilot Program Act creates a new pilot program at the National Park Service to support the use of native plants, and directs the Park Service to review existing data and study the cost-effectiveness of using native plants. The bill set up a five-year pilot program in America’s National Parks and on public lands to encourage the use of native plant material and measure their effectiveness in preventing the spread of invasive, non-native species. Native plants protect against erosion, provide food, and shelter for local wildlife and require fewer pesticides and fertilizers. The bill also authorized the Department of the Interior to conduct a study to determine the cost-effectiveness of using native plants. 
The GCA is grateful to the following organizations, and others, for their collaboration in advancing a proclamation to establish a Native Plant Month in states where there are no GCA member clubs.
Alaska Botanical Gardens
Alaska Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects
Alaska Invasive Species Partnership
Alaska Master Gardeners of Anchorage
Alaska Native Plant Society
Anchorage Soil & Water Conservation District
Idaho Native Plant Society
Mary Jo Wegner Arboretum, S.D.
Montana Native Plant Society
Nevada Native Plant Society
Oklahoma Native Plant Society
South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts
South Dakota Grassland Coalition
Utah Native Plant Society
Wildflower Garden Club of Alaska
Wyoming Native Plant Society
To learn more about the initiative, visit
To read the GCA’s Position Paper on native plants, visit


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