Portman, Hirono Introduce Resolution Designating April 2022 as National Native Plant Month

March 22, 2022 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) introduced a bipartisan resolution designating April 2022 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 2022 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.”

“Native plants are an important piece of Hawaii’s history, culture, and environment. As home to 44 percent of our country’s threatened and endangered plant species, in Hawaii, we understand the importance of protecting and preserving our native biodiversity. I’m pleased to introduce this bipartisan resolution to recognize April as National Native Plant Month and encourage all Americans to protect and incorporate native plants in their own communities,” said Hirono.

This resolution is gaining widespread support across Ohio and the country. Supporters include: Ohio Native Plant Month, Arizona Native Plant Society, Aullwood Audubon, Cincinnati Nature Center, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Colorado Native Plant Society, Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District, Davey Resource Group, Inc, Dawes Arboretum, Denver Botanic Gardens, Florida Native Plant Society, The Garden Club of America, Great Healthy Yard Project, Keep America Beautiful, Klyn Nurseries, Inc., Lake Erie Allegheny Partnership, Lani-Kailua Branch of the Outdoor Circle, Longwood Gardens, Medina County Park District, National Audubon Society, National Parks Conservation Association, National Wildlife Federation, Native Plant Society of Northeastern Ohio, Native Plant Society of Oregon, Nature Conservancy, Nature Scoop, New York Botanical Garden, North Carolina Botanical Garden, Ohio Environmental Council, Pollinator Partnership, Great Lakes Region, Summit Soil and Water Conservation District, University of Delaware, Utah Native Plant Society, Virginia Native Plant Society, Weed Wrangle®, Western Reserve Land Conservancy, Wild Ones: Native Plants, Audubon Society of Ohio, Civic Garden Center, California Native Plant Society, Keep Ohio Beautiful, Montana Native Plant Society, Native Plant Society of New Jersey, The Wilderness Center, Washington Native Plant Society, Save Ohio Bees, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, Coventry Township (Summit County, OH).

“The Ohio Native Plant Month organization commends Senators Portman and Hirono for the passage of a resolution to designate April 2022 as National Native Plant Month. This legislation allows people and organizations from across the country to join together during the month of April to celebrate native plants. It provides an important platform for educational programs, hands-on workshops, and community efforts to expand the number and size of native plant habitats throughout the country.”Nancy Linz, President and Co-Founder, Ohio Native Plant Month

“The Arizona Native Plant Society wholeheartedly urges the United State Senate to designate April 2022 as National Native Plant Month. Such a designation would definitely raise the awareness of the American people to the absolutely crucial role native plants play in helping to maintain environmental stability, diverse and sustainable ecosystems, and the aesthetic qualities of native plants for the enrichment of the lives of all Americans. Such a resolution would be of great use in the programs our Society undertakes to promote knowledge, appreciation, conservation, and restoration of Arizona’s native plants and their habitats upon which they depend.” - Doug Ripley, President, Arizona Native Plant Society

“Native plants support dozens of wildlife species including birds and insects. They also provide food for our bees, who pollinate our food crops. Without bees, we will not be able to continue to feed the world's population. We need native plants in order to continue to flourish.” - Alexis R. Faust, Executive Director, Aullwood Audubon, Dayton, Ohio

“I am so proud that Ohio has helped lead this effort to celebrate our nation’s native plants. As we move into spring planting season, I encourage everyone to create their own backyard nature preserve by planting native and encouraging your neighbors to do the same.”Dr. Cory Christopher, Director of Conservation at the Cincinnati Nature Center

“The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is proud to support National Native Plant Month. Planting natives to support your local pollinators, especially in the urban and suburban landscapes is key to creating a sustainable and healthy landscape in our neighborhoods.  It is a wonderful way to do conservation in our own back yards. Together, we can make a difference for our littlest friends and most important neighbors!” - Thane Maynard, Director, The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

“The Colorado Native Plant Society supports the resolution in the Senate designating the month of April as National Native Plant Month. The Colorado Native Plant Society is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the knowledge, appreciation and conservation of native plants and habitats of Colorado through education, stewardship and advocacy.” - Maggie Gaddis, Colorado Native Plant Society Executive Director

“Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District supports the resolution to designate April as National Native Plant Month. Not only do native plants provide resources for local fauna but they often have long root systems that can penetrate the soil up to 20 feet. These deep root systems increase the ability of soil to absorb and retain water while providing food for soil microbes and increasing soil organic matter. The long roots naturally hold the soil in place preventing erosion. Shrinking your lawn and incorporating native plants not only looks beautiful and provides habitat but it is a beneficial stormwater control and helps to keep rain water on site slowing it down so it can spread out and soak in naturally.” - Kristin Hall, Executive Director, Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District

“We support your resolution. We need to re-wild our agricultural, suburban, and urban environments. We need to support our native plants and pollinators. This is not an altruistic focus! Without our pollinators, we cannot keep our own survival in the balance. Our food systems are dependent on pollinator services. What is more: native landscapes are carbon sinks that contribute to our climate resilience.” - Kevin Ptacek, Davey Resource Group, Inc.

“The Dawes Arboretum is thrilled with the passage of the Senate resolution that establishes April as National Native Plant Month. The passing of this resolution will provide an even greater platform to help raise awareness of the critical and essential role native plants play in our everyday lives. As an Ohio Native Plant Learning Center, The Dawes Arboretum looks forward to celebrating National Native Plant Month by expanding educational opportunities that further promote an appreciation and understanding of Ohio native plants.”Luke Messinger, Executive Director of the Dawes Arboretum, located in Newark, OH

“Denver Botanic Gardens supports the resolution to designate April as National Native Plant Month. Native plants are those best suited to our local climates and support native insects and wildlife. We connect people with plants, native plants in particular, through our horticultural displays, educational programming and scientific studies. We should all celebrate our native plants and the unique beauty they bring to our local landscapes.” - Jennifer Neale, Director of Research & Conservation, Denver Botanic Gardens

“The Florida Native Plant Society is pleased to support this Resolution which celebrates the relationship between native plants and every aspect of our daily lives. Native plants provide habitat, serve as a food source and are an essential prerequisite to the conservation of our native wildlife for generations to come.”Bonnie Basham, President, Florida Native Plant Society

“The Garden Club of America (GCA) commends Senators Portman and Hirono for the passage of a renewal resolution to designate April as National Native Plant Month. Since all life on earth depends on the health of our planet, and plants are the foundation of life, legislation of this type is very important. Our ecosystems benefit from native plants – stabilizing soil, filtering water, cleaning air, and supporting pollinators and wildlife. The GCA is committed to preserving and expanding our system of richly varied natural habitats and protecting native plant biodiversity. This official designation will create an opportunity to educate gardeners about the benefits of using native plants and, hopefully, result in more native plants being introduced into local landscapes.” - Debbie Oliver, President, The Garden Club of America

“The Great Healthy Yard Project applauds the adoption of Native Plant month as a way to change the aesthetic of American yards. With native plants Americans can have more beautiful yards without synthetic chemicals. Since these chemicals wash from our yards into our drinking water, this is one of the best ways to protect our water and our families’ health. Especially now with the stress of the pandemic, and climate related issues impacting every region of the country, this is a wonderful time for natural gardening with native plants. It is enjoyable, and helps the environment, our families, and wildlife.” - Diane Lewis, M.D. Author and Founder of the Great Healthy Yard Project

“Keep America Beautiful is proud to offer continued support of the National Native Plant Month resolution," said Keep America Beautiful Interim President and CEO, Becky Lyons. "Our numerous programs, including the Great American Cleanup which is happening during this designated month, work to protect our ecosystem.  We know designated months such as these are vital to our ongoing mission to ensure our environment thrives today, and tomorrow, in its natural form.” - Becky Lyons, Chief Operating Officer, Keep America Beautiful

“As part of the Green Industry in Ohio we support the resolution sponsored by Senators Portman and Hirono to designate the month of April as National Native Plant Month.  It is important to raise the awareness of native plants and the role they play in providing a healthy environment for pollinators and birds.  Through education we can show people that native plants are not only functional but can add beauty to their landscapes.” - Bill Hendricks, President, Klyn Nurseries, Inc.

“The Lake Erie Allegheny Partnership (LEAP) is a consortium of conservation-related organizations, located in the glaciated Allegheny plateau, dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity in the region. The LEAP Native Plant Promotion Committee was formed in 2008 due to the serious threat of invasive species to our natural areas and to recommend and promote the use of native plants in our landscape.  We applaud and fully support Senator Portman in bringing this Resolution forward. By recognizing National Native Plant Month we bring attention to the serious threat of invasive plants and highlight the beauty and wonder of native plants across the country.” - Renee Boronka on behalf of the Lake Erie Allegheny Partnership

“The Lani-Kailua Branch of the Outdoor Circle (LKOC), based in Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii is in support of this legislation to make April 2022 National Native Plant Month.LKOC was founded in 1948 as a branch of the statewide Outdoor Circle, Hawaii’s oldest environmental organization founded in Honolulu in 1912.  Over the past 70 years, LKOC has undertaken tree planting and landscape improvement projects and advocacy efforts in our community which have resulted in tree-lined streets and public parks, schools and open space with quality shade trees and a biodiversity of plantings, including native species.”Diane Harding, President, Lani Kailua Outdoor Circle

“Longwood Gardens supports the Senate Resolution designating April 2022 as National Native Plant Month. As a leader in the art and science of horticulture and land stewardship Longwood Gardens fully recognizes the importance of native plants due to their extraordinary beauty and necessity in having stronger, resilient ecosystems.” - Paul B. Redman, President and Chief Executive Office, Longwood Gardens

“The value of native plants is immeasurable. By including native plants in our landscapes, we are supporting essential food webs, building healthier soil, creating cleaner air, and supporting the pollinators crucial to our survival. By choosing native species over exotics and ornamentals, we can all do our part to help restore biodiversity and rebuild healthy ecosystems.” - Jim Spetz, Medina County Park District, Ohio

“Thank you Senators Portman and Hirono for again introducing a resolution to recognize April as "National Native Plant Month," said John Rowden, senior director for Bird-Friendly Communities, National Audubon Society.” The modern world presents numerous challenges to birds, including pollution, habitat loss and a changing climate. Native plants support birds and other wildlife, providing food, shelter, and nesting sites. Because they are adapted to local conditions, native plants require less water and don’t need pesticides or fertilizers to thrive. We hope this resolution will encourage people to use more native plants, which will benefit their communities and the birds and other wildlife that share them.” - John Rowden, Senior Director for Bird-Friendly Communities, National Audubon Society

“Our national parks are home to some of the world’s most iconic plant species like the asters at Cuyahoga Valley, white bark pine at Yellowstone and seagrasses at Everglades. But as the climate crisis continues to intensify, our parks’ most vulnerable plants are at risk from increased flooding, drought and erosion. And the wildlife that rely on park plants for shelter and protection are in danger too. The National Native Plant Month resolution is critical to helping our parks combat climate impacts and prevent some of the rarest plants from being lost forever. We commend Senators Portman and Hirono for their leadership in getting this resolution over the finish line, and their continued support for our nation’s native plants.” – Theresa Pierno, President and CEO for the National Parks Conservation Association

“Native plants support the local ecology and provide vital nutrients for pollinators like monarch butterflies, hummingbirds, bees and more. We fully support Senators Rob Portman and Mazie Hirono’s resolution to designate this April as National Native Plant Month and we encourage everyone at home to take action this April. It’s as easy as incorporating native plants into gardens and landscaping this spring, the smallest actions can make the biggest difference for our communities.” – Patrick Fitzgerald, Senior Director of Community Wildlife, National Wildlife Federation

“The Native Plant Society of Northeastern Ohio, the founding chapter of the Ohio Native Plant Society, now celebrating our 40th anniversary, is proud to support Senator Portman for not only passing the resolution to make April Ohio Native Plant month as well as co-sponsoring a resolution to make it National Native Plant Month. The resolution follows along with our goals and mission: Promote conservation of Native Plants and Natural Communities through habitat protection and other means; Foster public knowledge and appreciation of native plants; Support natural landscaping; Raise awareness of the ethical issues regarding native plants; Encourage surveys and research into native species and the publication of findings; and Promote cooperation with other programs and organizations concerned with the conservation of natural resources.” - Judy Barnhart, President, Native Plant Society of Northeastern Ohio

“The Native Plant Society of Oregon strongly supports Senators Portman and Hirono’s resolution designating April 2022 as National Native Plant Month.  This resolution recognizes the importance of native plants as well as threats to their continued existence.  A national resolution can help promote education on the benefits of native plants and public efforts to conserve, preserve, and enjoy native plants as well as efforts to remove invasive species.” - Judi Sanders, NPAM Coordinator, Native Plant Society of Oregon

“The Nature Conservancy thanks Senators Portman and Hirono for their efforts to gain Senate approval of the resolution naming April 2022 National Native Plant Month. Ohio’s native plants aren’t just beautiful and diverse; they are hardier, require less water and no pesticides or fertilizers. They also support an abundance of pollinators, which are vital to our nation’s food production through pollination and pest control. Native Plant Month is an important tool for raising awareness of the true benefits Ohio’s natural environment provides and we are so pleased to see it supported by Senators Portman and Hirono.” - Tracy Freeman, Director of Government Relations, The Nature Conservancy

“Nature Scoop supports Senator Rob Portman and Senator Mazie Hirono's resolution to designate April as National Native Plant Month. We inspire the public to landscape with native plants, particularly those plants that bees and native butterfly/moth caterpillars eat, like milkweed for the Monarch butterfly. The caterpillars are necessary to feed baby birds. Butterfly and moth native plants are terribly fragmented (too few and too isolated), so we need to fill in the gaps by landscaping with native plants in our yards and communities. Birds, including the common species, are not getting enough caterpillars to eat because of the lack of these plants and are quickly decreasing in number. Birds are the 'canaries in the coalmine,' indicating the beginning of our ecosystem collapse. If we include native plants in our yards and community, each of us can save the native plant and animal services humans depend upon (i.e., releasing oxygen into the air, cleaning our drinking water, pollinating our food), stop the collapse of our food web and ultimately our own demise. This resolution will encourage us to restore America the Beautiful simply by changing the type of plants we add to our gardens.” - Toni Stahl, Habitat Ambassador, Nature Scoop

“On behalf of The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), we applaud your efforts to again designate April as National Native Plant Month. We wholeheartedly endorse this effort, and commit to educating the public about native plants year-round, but especially in the month of April. Since our founding in 1891, NYBG has been an advocate for the plant kingdom. Native plants are featured throughout our 250 acres in the densely populated borough of the Bronx, and featured in our very own Native Plant Garden. This 3.5-acre garden celebrates the beauty of plants native to the American Northeast. Nearly 100,000 native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns, and grasses were planted in a carefully planned contemporary design that harmonizes with the natural landscape. Many of the plants in the Native Plant Garden provide shelter and sustenance for wildlife, making this garden a magnet for squirrels, chipmunks, frogs, and a colorful array of birds and butterflies. This garden also serves as a serene oasis for urban families wishing to learn more about sustainable practices and the benefits of native plant use in their own homes and communities. As we turn the corner into spring, NYBG applauds your efforts and will uphold your statement that “native plants are essential components of resilient ecosystems and our natural heritage” in our practice and public education. Should there be anything further that you need from us your endeavor, please do not hesitate to have your staff contact me directly.” - Aaron Bouska, Vice President for Government and Community Relations, The New York Botanical Garden

“The North Carolina Botanical Garden (NCBG) has been a leader in native plant conservation, horticulture, and education in the southeastern United States for more than 50 years. As part of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, we further the University's tripartite teaching, research, and public service mission through our own mission to inspire understanding, appreciation, and conservation of plants and to advance a sustainable relationship between people and nature. As a garden focused on conserving the biodiversity of southeastern native plants, we fully support Senator Portman’s legislation to make April 2022 National Native Plant Month.” - Damon Waitt, Director, North Carolina Botanical Garden

“Our native plants are cornerstones of our environment, and crucial to the health and success of pollinators, wildlife, and our economy. 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 2022 National Native Plant Month and let’s get planting!” Heather Taylor-Miesle, Executive Director of the Ohio Environmental Council

“Native plants are critical to the diet and life cycles of many bees, butterflies, birds, and other wildlife. Not only do these plants beautify and diversify our landscape, they also help clean our air and water, stabilize soils, feed imperiled wildlife, and so much more. Protection, support, and education regarding the importance and benefits of native plants is paramount to the future success of pollinator conservation in the United States. Pollinator Partnership supports Senators Portman and Hirono in their resolution to designate this April as National Native Plant Month and thanks them for their continued efforts to raise awareness about the critical role these species play in our landscaping and natural areas.” - Amber Barnes, Pollinator Partnership, Great Lakes Region

“Native indigenous plants, including flowering plants and trees, are vital to life-sustaining biodiversity, complex living systems, and the food web including bee and pollinator health. Native plants are invaluable to restoring ecological harmony, and to improving air and water quality. April’s designation as National Native Plant Month will fuel countless restoration and conservation efforts. Congratulations to Senators Portman and Hirono for spearheading the Native Plant Month resolution, and to those that helped make its passage possible.” - Tracy Teuscher, Save Ohio Bees™ Founder

“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.”Brian Prunty, District Administrator

“Native plants are the most powerful tool in our conservation tool box; without increasing their use and protection, we will fail in our conservation efforts. National Native Plant Month will help spread this important message. We can restore biodiversity and ecosystem function one person at a time – please plant natives and get on the Homegrown National Park™ MAP www.homegrownnationalpark.org.” Dr. Doug Tallamy, University of Delaware

“The Utah Native Plant Society is in full support of the resolution sponsored by Senators Portman and Hirono designating April 2022 as Native Plant Month and would like to see it become permanent. The resolution recognizes the vital role of native plants in our ecosystems as well as the integral part they play in the magnificent beauty of the national parks of Utah. UNPS strives to protect, educate and conserve the native plants of Utah and appreciates the awareness and national support of such a resolution.”- Cathy King, President, Utah Native Plant Society

“The Virginia Native Plant Society is pleased and honored to support the designation of April 2022 as National Native Plant Month. To summarize the VNPS conservation policy, native plants are needed to sustain for generations to come the integrity of our rich natural heritage of ecosystems and biodiversity for purposes of enjoyment, enlightenment, sustainable use, and our own very survival. Dedicating a month to highlight native plants can help the public understand the importance of our native plants to biodiversity and learn to treasure them. Planting and conserving native plants is patriotic.” - Nancy Vehrs, President, Virginia Native Plant Society

“Weed Wrangle®, a nationwide structure for organizing events, led by professionals, on public lands. The goal is public awareness and eradication of non-native invasive species and native plant restoration. Weed Wrangle® volunteers learn, practice and begin a habit of maintaining an area free of non-native invasive plants and encourage replanting with natives in removal areas. By engaging our neighbors and challenging them to take action in their own spaces, we hope to create a movement that will have the greatest impact on the invasive plant population and restoration of native plant communities. Weed Wrangle®, grassroots project, is now in 25 states and growing invasively, like a weed.” - Cayce McAlister, Garden Club of Nashville, Coordinator, Weed Wrangle®

“Permanently protecting Ohio’s natural landscapes, family farms, and urban green spaces is only the first step in creating healthy environments. Western Reserve Land Conservancy works to transform landscapes by promoting native plant populations, removing invasive species, and restoring vital features like wetlands and forests. We applaud Sens. Portman and Hirono for their recognition of the importance of a healthy, native landscape by reintroducing their resolution declaring April as National Native Plant Month.” Rich Cochran, President and CEO, Western Reserve Land Conservancy

“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.”Jen Ainsworth, Executive Director of Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes 

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

Designating April 2022 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 2022 as ‘‘National Native Plant Month’’; and
  2. recognizes the benefits of native plants to the environment and economy of the United States.