Portman, Hirono Introduce Resolution Designating April 2021 as National Native Plant Month

March 15, 2021 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) introduced a bipartisan resolution designating April 2021 as “National Native Plant Month” and recognizing the importance of native plants to environmental conservation and restoration, as well as in supporting a diversity of wildlife. 

“I am proud to introduce this bipartisan resolution designating April 2021 as National Native Plant Month,” said Portman. “From stabilizing soil and filtering air and water to providing shelter and food for wildlife, native plants play an indispensable role in supporting resilient ecosystems as well as in our everyday lives. This bipartisan resolution highlights the importance of native plants and celebrates our rich ecological heritage here in Ohio and across the nation.”

“In Hawaii, we know about the importance of protecting native plants, as our state is home to 44 percent of our country’s threatened and endangered plant species. This bipartisan resolution celebrates the essential role that native plant species play in communities and ecosystems all across America, and encourages that we all pay special attention to native plants during April,” said Senator Hirono.  

This resolution is gaining widespread support across Ohio and the country. Supporters include: North American Native Plant Society, National Audubon Society, the Garden Club of America, National Wildlife Federation, Midwest Native Plant Society, The Great Healthy Yard Project, the Wilderness Center, Weed Wrangle, Florida Native Plant Society, Audubon Society of Ohio, Black River Advisory Committee, Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District, Cincinnati Civic Garden Center, Davey Resource Group, Inc., Dawes Arboretum, Medina County Park District, Native Plant Society of Northeastern Ohio, Nature Scoop, Ohio Environmental Council, Ohio Native Plant Month, Summit Soil & Water Conservation District, the Cincinnati Nature Center, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, the Nature Conservancy for Ohio, Western Reserve Land Conservancy, Native Plant Society of Oregon, Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes, National Parks Conservation Association, North Carolina Native Plant Society, Washington Native Plant Society, and Dr. Douglas Tallamy of the University of Delaware.

“The Ohio Native Plant Month organization supports the resolution sponsored by Senators Portman and Hirono to designate the month of April as National Native Plant Month. This national recognition will provide a platform for numerous educational opportunities in April including school programs on the importance of native plants, outdoor hikes, workshops to remove invasive plant species, and the planting of trees and other native plants to help improve our ecosystems,” said Nancy Linz, Co-Founder and President of Ohio Native Plant Month.

“Our more than 420 national parks are home to some of our country’s most iconic plants from asters at Cuyahoga Valley, to whitebark pine at Yellowstone to seagrasses at Everglades. These plants not only provide critical shelter and protection for park wildlife like cactus in Saguaro, they also help to prevent flooding, drought and erosion in parks that continue to intensify because of climate change. But with an increase in invasive species, years of habitat loss due to development and lack of funding, some of our parks’ native plants have been lost, threatening park ecosystems across the country. We commend Senators Portman and Hirono for championing this resolution, which is a critical first step in shining a spotlight on our native plants and the wildlife that depend on them for survival,” said Theresa Pierno, President and CEO for the National Parks Conservation Association. 

“Native plants are not only good for birds and the insects birds feed on, they are good for people, too,” said John Rowden, Senior Director for Bird-Friendly Communities at the National Audubon Society. “April is a great month to recognize the importance of native plants. Millions of birds are starting their Spring migration journey with a changing climate and habitat loss creating serious challenges for them to find natural spaces to rest along the way. Native plants help provide food and shelter for migratory and resident birds and are adapted to local conditions, so require less watering than non-native plants and don’t require synthetic fertilizer or pesticides.”

“The Garden Club of America commends Senators Portman and Hirono for introducing a resolution that would designate April as National Native Plant Month. Our ecosystem benefits from native plants – stabilizing soil, filtering water, cleaning air, and supporting wildlife. Once these plants become established, they require less watering and need no chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides to thrive. They also preserve the natural history of the flora and fauna of the American landscape,” said Garden Club of America President Debbie Edwards. 

“We encourage all Americans to incorporate native plants into their gardens and landscapes this spring,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, Senior Director of Community Wildlife at the National Wildlife Federation. “The National Wildlife Federation supports Senator Rob Portman and Senator Mazie Hirono’s resolution to designate this April as National Native Plant Month. This resolution will remind all Americans that by planting native plants at home and throughout the community, we can all create healthy, thriving habitat that helps wildlife species like the iconic monarch butterfly, pollinators, song birds and others.” 

"Native Plants, Natural Landscapes promotes environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities. Recognition of a Native Plant Month supports education and advocacy efforts in many organizations to restore native ecosystems and support all of our efforts to heal our planet,” said Jen Ainsworth, Executive Director of Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes.  

“The Nature Conservancy is encouraged to see Senators’ Portman and Hirono introduce the resolution to declare April 2021 National Native Plant Month.  Highlighting the importance of our native plants couldn’t be timelier. The numbers are striking. Of the approximately 3,000 plant species known to occur in the wild in Ohio, about 25 percent are non-native and upwards of 100 of those are considered invasive. These invasive species not only impact our forests, wetlands, and streams, but also our economy, health, and safety,” said Tracy Freeman, Director of Government Relations for The Nature Conservancy in Ohio“We thank Senators Portman and Hirono for their commitment to conservation and this resolution will complement the growing nationwide effort to help native ecosystems, protect against harmful invasive species and bring back our declining pollinators. Native plants are good for Ohio and our country, good for the environment, and good for business.” 

“Perhaps less charismatic than Bison or Bald Eagles, native plants are no less important. Whether by providing food or by producing and filtering the air that we breathe, native plant communities have always been – and will always be - critical to the livelihoods of people and the vibrancy of human communities. Thus, by extending our pride-of-place to include our native plants, we more fully embrace and celebrate our patriotism,” said Dr. Cory Christopher, Director of Conservation at the Cincinnati Nature Center.

"The Dawes Arboretum fully supports this resolution that establishes April as National Native Plant Month. This resolution will help raise greater awareness of the critical and essential role our treasured native plants play in our everyday lives," said Luke Messinger, Executive Director of the Dawes Arboretum, located in Newark, OH.

“Our native plants are cornerstones of our environment, and crucial to the health and success of pollinators, wildlife, and our economy,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, Executive Director of the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC). “The Ohio Environmental Council applauds Senator Portman and Senator Hirono for their leadership in recognizing and celebrating America’s natural heritage and ecological bounty. Let’s make April 2021 National Native Plant Month and let’s get planting!”

“Summit Soil and Water Conservation District (SSWCD) supports the resolution to designate April 2021 as National Native Plant month. Native plants are extremely crucial on several levels. They provide nutrient rich food and habitat for our native animals and insects, they do not require fertilizer or watering, increase soil structure, organic matter, soil health and infiltration of surface water which reduces downstream flooding,” said Brian Prunty, District Administrator.   

“The Great Healthy Yard Project supports Native Plant Month as a way to have beautiful yards without synthetic chemicals, protecting our families’ drinking water,” said Diane Lewis, author and founder of the Great Healthy Yard Project.

“The Florida Native Plant Society is pleased to support this resolution to promote a greater understanding of the importance of native plants to our wellbeing, our environment and our economy,” said Juliet Rynear, Executive Director of the Florida Native Plant Society.

Text of the Senate resolution can be found here and below:

Designating April 2021 as ‘‘National Native Plant Month’’.

Whereas native plants are indigenous species that have evolved and occur naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, and habitat;

Whereas there are more than 17,000 native plant species in the United States, which include trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, and wildflowers;

Whereas native plants help prevent flooding, drought, and erosion and can help restore damaged ecosystems;

Whereas native plants provide shelter as well as nectar, pollen, and seeds that serve as food for native butterflies, insects, birds, and other wildlife in ways that non-native plants cannot; 

Whereas more than 200 of the native plant species in the United States are estimated to have been lost since the early 19th century;

Whereas habitat loss and degradation, extreme weather events, and invasive species have contributed to the decline of native plants in the United States; and

Whereas native plants are essential components of resilient ecosystems and our natural heritage: Now, therefore, be it 

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) designates April 2021 as ‘‘National Native Plant Month’’; and 

(2) recognizes the benefits of native plants to the environment and economy of the United States.