Local Roots, Audubon NC’s newest Bird-Friendly Communities initiative to bring back native plants that specifically benefit birds and our local economy, was launched on January 8 and 9 at the Green and Growin’ Show with assistance from several members of our own T. Gilbert Pearson chapter.
The Local Roots program targets the entire green industry from growers to landscapers, retailers, and gardeners, with the goal of getting a commitment from growers and retailers to grow and sell a select list of native plants each year for the next three years, beginning in 2015. In return for this commitment, Audubon NC provides marketing and education to promote the Bird-Friendly Native Plants of the Year collection.
Using a “collect as you grow” model of marketing, Audubon NC will emphasize the current year’s list of new plants while continuing to market the full list of native plant options. Growers and nurseries that signed on with Local Roots will receive digital tools to help market native plants on their website or social media, including photos of birds and native plants and fast facts.
Contact information for Local Roots growers will be included on a flyer sent to Local Roots retailers, and growers will receive a list of Local Roots retailers. Retailers will receive plant markers to label plants as bird-friendly natives. Audubon NC will also send periodic e-bulletins to growers, retailers, landscapers, and gardeners who want information about our Bird-Friendly Native Plants of the Year and updates on the program.
Many thanks to T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon volunteers Dennis Burnette, Marie Dow, Barbara Hughes, Jack Jezorek, Margaret Kane, Howard Millican, Lynn Moseley, Deborah Staves, Ann Walter-Fromson, and Peggy Young for their help getting Local Roots launched. Kim Brand, the Bird-Friendly Communities Coordinator for Audubon NC, guided our efforts from set-up time on Wednesday until closing on Friday afternoon; Lena Gallitano from Wake Audubon, who is an Audubon NC board member, volunteered on Thursday afternoon and Friday.
We were successful in getting 16 growers, retailers, and landscapers signed up to participate in the Local Roots program, and a total of 73 people signed up to subscribe to Local Roots e-news. That’s a great start! We found that nearly all the people we talked with were supportive, interested, or even excited about the the Local Roots program.
Our focus now is to sign up more growers, retailers, and landscapers to participate in Local Roots; they can sign up online at Growers/retailers sign-up. Gardeners who want to get the Local Roots e-bulletin can sign up online at Gardeners sign-up, and soon you will be able to find a list of retailers selling native plants on the Audubon NC website. Here’s the list of 2015 Bird-friendly Native Plants of the Year — which ones will you plant in your yard this year? — Article by Ann Walter-Fromson
Eastern Blue Phlox Phlox divaricata
Threadleaf Coreopsis Coreopsis verticillata
Eastern Aromatic Aster Symphyotrichum oblongifolium
Purple Coneflower Echinacea purpurea
Switchgrass Panicum virgatum
Virginia Sweetspire Itea virginica
Winterberry Ilex verticillata
Spicebush Lindera benzoin
Downy Serviceberry Amelanchier arborea
Eastern Red Cedar Juniperus virginiana
Cross-vine Bignonia capreolata
Overcup Oak Quercus lyrata