Native Plant Resources
The following is a list of online resources I’ve used over the years.
Best Bet Plants to Attract Butterflies and Moths – From Bringing Nature Home.
Illinois Wildflowers – Best resource to search for faunal associations with a particular plant.
Jersey-Friendly Plant Database – Great searchable database to help select plants that grow in New Jersey. Can filter results to include only native species, and drill down by pH requirements, ecoregion, deer resistance, and more.
Native Plant Database for Mid-Atlantic – Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s native plant database. Great resource for selecting plants listing soil/sun conditions, height, bloom color/time.
PA DCNR Invasive Plant List – What plants to avoid and remove.
Pollinator Plants: Mid-Atlantic Region – Xerces Society’s list of pollinator-friendly plants for our region (PDF).
PSU Native Plants for the Perennial Garden – Great list of best bets for the PA perennial garden.
USDA PLANTS Database – The PLANTS Database provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories.
Gardening With Native Plants
Audubon At Home – Learn how to make your home and community a bird-friendly place to live.
Bringing Nature Home by Prof. Douglas Tallamy – Why native plants? This is the place to start to get some perspective.
HGCNY Resources – Another great resource for habitat gardening.
The Meadow Project – The Meadow Project’s mission is to educate and raise awareness about sustainable, native, healthy, easy and affordable land care practices that support wildlife and human life.
The Native Plant Podcast – A great podcast dedicated to native plants… and beer. Guests include a who’s who of the native plant scene.
Stewardship Garden – Great blog from Central NY about backyard habitat gardening.
If you’re into planting with natives and creating habitat, consider getting your property certified with these organizations. The signs create awareness and support good causes.
Monarch Waystation Program – Got milkweed? Get your property listed as a monarch waystation.
National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Wildlife Habitat – Probably the best place to start in terms of ensuring your yard is wildlife-friendly by providing food, water, cover, a place to raise young, and using sustainable practices.
PSU’s Pollinator Garden Certification Program – Submit an application and display your commitment to conserve pollinator habitat.
Xerces Society Pollinator Habitat – Support the Bring Back the Pollinators program while letting your neighbors know you plant pollinator-friendly species and don’t use pesticides.
Organizations, Volunteer Opportunities, and Training Programs
I currently volunteer, have worked with, and/or have gone through the certification programs of these organizations and recommend looking into their missions.
Friends of Carpenter’s Woods – Preserved from development in 1916 specifically because of its importance to a wide variety of resident and migratory bird species, Carpenter’s Woods is part of a global network of places recognized by the National Audubon Society and BirdLife International for its value to bird conservation.
Land Health Institute – Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to “Put Nature Back” through exploration and environmental education programming and community-based land revitalization services.
Natural Lands Trust Force of Nature Volunteer Program – Natural Lands Trust’s Force of Nature® volunteer program is a way for you to support land conservation and care for our preserves while learning important skills.
PA Master Naturalist Program – Statewide PA partnership initiative that aims to connect people with their local ecosystems through intensive natural science training and local conservation service work.
PHS Tree Tenders – This program offers hands-on tree care training, covering biology, identification, planting and proper care.
Bat House Construction Guide – Our bat population is in decline. Bat houses can be purchased online but can also be built with relative ease if you’re handy.
Bee Boxes – Simple instructions for building homes for solitary bees—our super-efficient native pollinators.
Insect Hotels – Beyond leaving your leaves and not cutting back perennials until spring, insect hotels provide beneficial insects cover for overwintering. This page has tons of cool ideas for fun projects.
Net Boxes for Birds – Comprehensive resource from Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Wildlife Pond – Pond construction can be tricky, and creating a wildlife pond (no fish) that supports beneficial insects, reptiles, amphibians, and birds can be trickier, but this is a good place to start.
Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder (really!) – I’ve tried all of the “squirrel-proof” bird feeders and this, in combination with a baffle or dome, absolutely does the job. I use shelled black oil sunflower seeds so there’s no mess underneath.
Suet Feeder – Perch area big enough to accommodate Pileated woodpeckers. Not squirrel-proof, however.
Free Rain Barrels (City of Philadelphia) – Rain Check is a Philadelphia Water program that helps residents manage stormwater and beautify their homes. Attend a workshop and get a free rain barrel!
Tree Philly – FREE yard trees for Philadelphia residents.
West Mt Airy Neighbors Streetscapes – Mt Airy residents can apply to get a free street tree. WMAN also needs volunteers to plant street trees in spring/fall.
PP&R Haddington Woods Project – Philadelphia Inquirer article I was quoted in. If you ever get the chance to take one of David Hewitt’s ecology courses, do so!
Careers in Environmental Science
Know of a good resource that we’re not listing? Contact us with suggestions.