To restore biodiversity to our community, volunteers and residents are working together to set up the Mount Rainier Native Plant Network. Volunteers will educate, encourage, and assist residents, apartment owners, businesses and our local governments with planting and documenting native plants on their properties.
In Winter 2020, the Mayor and Council passed legislation to create the Mount Rainier Native Plant Network. This is a new idea and probably easiest to explain by first talking a bit about biodiversity.
Biodiversity is the enormous variety of plants, bugs, bees, birds, bears, humans, and everything in between that makes our planet so wonderfully alive and habitable. The services provided by biodiversity, such as pollination, are crucial to our planet and human existence. Unfortunately, misguided human development is accelerating climate change and habitat loss, and our planet is losing biodiversity at increasingly alarming rates.
Our response to this threat will determine the kind of planet future generations get to enjoy. Our challenge is to take bold action and turn the tide on biodiversity loss, preventing a diminished future with a scarcity of wild animals, plants and pollinators. To address this crisis, leading environmental groups are campaigning to preserve 30% of the planet as nature preserves, but unfortunately, creating islands of biodiversity in our state and national parks is not enough. Incorporating native plants into the local landscape – yards, businesses and public spaces – and connecting biodiversity across the state is critical.
Anyone can sign up as a participating home or business or volunteer in the Mount Rainier Native Plant Network. As a participant you will plant or maintain native plants in your yard with the goal of having at least 25 different native plant species in your yard, or 10% of your yard planted with natives. In Fall 2021 a volunteer will come by to verify and officially count you as a certified yard in the Mount Rainier Native Plant Network. Certified yards will receive a beautiful and artistic small yard sign (designed by our very own Torie Partridge) to show off their membership. Certified yards will also be included on an online map, providing a virtual representation of the native plant ecosystem in our city.
Why Plant Natives?
- What’s So Great about Native Plants? from the East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District
- Why Native Plants Matter from Audubon
- 5 Reasons Native Plants Help You Save Money and the Planet from the American Society of Landscape Architects
Need Support Getting Started?
What help is available? If you don’t know how to get started, or wish to add additional native plants, you can request a no-cost consultation. Volunteers trained by the Prince George’s County Audubon Society Wildlife Habitat Program will visit your property and lend their expertise and guidance. For a visit, contact Kathy Shollenberger, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recommended Sources for Native Plants
- New Brooklyn Farm (Mount Rainier, MD)
- Chesapeake Natives, Inc. (Upper Marlboro, MD)
- Earth Sangha (Springfield, VA)
- Nature by Design (Alexandrai, VA)
- Prairie Moon Nursery (Winona, MN)
- Environmental Concern (St. Michaels, MD)
- Patuxent Nursery (Bowie, MD)
- Maryland Native Plant Society (Silver Spring, MD)
Recommended Native Plants
Recommended by Jorge Bogantes Montero, Stewardship Program Specialist: Natural Resources, Anacostia Watershed Society (December 2020)
- Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
- Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) (weedy alert!)
- Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)
- Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) (somewhat weedy)
- Asters (Symphyotricum spp.)
- Goldenrods (Solidago spp.)
- Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) (weedy alert!) outstanding fall colors
- Pennsylvania sedge (Carex pensylvanica)
- Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum)
- Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia spp.)
- Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
- Plantain-leaf pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia)
- Beebalms (Monarda spp.)
- Maryland Senna (Senna marylandica)
- Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
- Soft rush (Juncus effusus) (needs moist to wet soils)
- Joe-pye weed (Eupatorium rugosum)
- Native sunflowers (Helianthus spp.)
- Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)
Add a Rain Barrel to your Native Plant Garden
Check out the PG County Rain Check Rebate program, which will give you a rebate allowance of $2 per gallon stored. It has other great incentives for green home and yard makeovers as well.