Governor Asa Hutchinson proclaimed the week of April 20, 2020, to be Native Plant Week in the state of Arkansas. Native Plant Week recognizes the importance of native plants in bird-friendly communities and beyond. Similar proclamations were made by the mayors of Little Rock and Texarkana, as well as the property owners association of Hot Springs Village.
Anyone can support wildlife by planting bird- and butterfly-friendly plant species for year-round food, cover and shelter. Native plants are food for our native insects, which are in turn food for birds. With 96% of all terrestrial birds feeding their young insects, native plants are the real feeders birds need.
Regionally adapted or native plants have evolved with our local growing conditions and support local food webs. Gardens and landscapes composed of Arkansas’s native plants conserve water, save energy, and reduce pollutants and pesticides in comparison to turf gass. Further, some exotic ornamental plants used in landscaping escape into natural areas, where they outcompete native species and reduce biodiversity.
Native plants and their derivatives provide food, medicine, and other essentials; Arkansas has benefited from the economic impact of native plants, ranging from pecans to muscadine.
By cultivating Arkansas’s native plants, we honor our heritage, sustain the beauty and benefits of our environmental resources, and preserve a natural link to wildland areas both past and present.
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