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Homegrown National Park update
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Homegrown National Park update

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Take a few minutes and check out the website, homegrownnationalpark.org and hopefully put it in your favorites folder for future and frequent use. This will be a source of inspiration, education and reference, as well as a log book for your own gradual contributions toward a very worthwhile conservation goal. The website, about creating connectivity in landscapes to support biodiversity, is the report card of the largest and most ambitious, cooperative conservation effort ever conceived or attempted.

Dr. Doug Tallamy, author of the book “Nature’s Best Hope”, set forth this idea and has teamed up with native plant enthusiast, web designer and program promoter Michelle Alfantari. Dr. Tallamy challenges us all with this statement: “In the past, we have asked one thing of our gardens: that they be pretty. Now they have to support life, sequester carbon, feed pollinators and manage water.” Once on the website, watch the many videos and read the stories of current and archived newsletters and other resources. It will become easier to spot invasive and non-native species, learn the value and proper usage of native plants, and improve the performance of your property. Instead of confining nature and conservation efforts to isolated and disconnected parks, preserves, zoos, etc., this effort includes yards, commercial landscapes, golf courses, roadsides, airports, farms, government properties, coastal dunes, etc. You name it, we can reconnect with nature on a very safe and effective level throughout urban, suburban, industrial and pastoral settings.

Among the resources to be found on this site are four of Dr. Tallamy’s excellent books for purchase, as well as links to his very engaging lectures. You will be very impressed by his presentation style and his outstanding photography.

This program to track progress of planting native plants has been underway for just a couple of years. To date, there are now reports from all 50 states, including data from 990 counties, 3,342 zip codes, 8,960 people signing up and entering data, 7,029 native planting areas of all different sizes; and 21,032 acres planted and documented with plants that are native to the various regions. A tentative goal of 20 million acres has been set for starters, based on modest participation; so these tabulations amount to a little more than 1% of that goal. Pretty amazing for a short span of time, but the need is overwhelmingly important and time sensitive; a full out campaign is definitely needed.

So, freely surf this website and also check out the Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter presence of Homegrown National Park. It’s certainly okay to just do the actions, but to also view your progress along with so many others on an interactive map of the United States keeps you “in the loop.” Right now there is some action happening in our local Atlantic and Cape May counties. Check out where and how much; let’s keep adding on and connecting native plant habitats.

Of course, the “flip-side” of the urgency to establish native species plants is to remove invasive species plants that are wasting millions of acres of land all across the US. It is essential to plant natives as soon as invasives are removed, otherwise invasives will likely recolonize the space. For our local purposes, please study up on plants to remove and the ones to avoid purchasing in the first place. There are lists on the websites of Jersey-Friendly Yards, NJDEP, NJ Invasive Species Strike Team (NJISST), US Department of Agriculture (USDA National Invasive Species Information Center/Terrestrial Plants) and the Native Plant Society of New Jersey (NPSNJ). Make sure to reference what is best for the New Jersey Outer Coastal Plain. For a quick refresher on how you can take a huge bite out of local problematic invasive plants, check out our locally-made video “Twelve Tenacious Invasives.” Just go online for free and enter “YouTube Twelve Tenacious Invasives.” A companion brochure is available to you on the Go Green Galloway website (gogreengalloway.org) under ANJEC Invasive Plant Species. A recording of our own sponsored presentation of Doug Tallamy is also available on the Go Green Galloway website under the tab “All About Us,” then “An Evening With Doug Tallamy” below. For more information, come visit the Go Green Galloway table at the Galloway Green Market; every Thursday until Sept. 2, at the Smithville Village Greene from 4 to 7 p.m.; or contact us through the information below.

Go Green Galloway is a volunteer organization dedicated to reducing the carbon footprint of Galloway through the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation, environmental education and the implementation of sustainable practices. We always welcome new volunteer members. Contact us at gogreengalloway12@gmail.com or call Mary at 609-742-7076. Also be sure to like our Facebook page.

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