by Linda Manley
Our theme for the year 2023 will be Homegrown National Park®, a concept created by Doug Tallamy, one of the primary movers and shakers in ecology and biodiversity today. His NYT best-selling book, Nature’s Best Hope, laid the foundation of the homegrown national park and sparked the creation of a website of the same name. Our goal for this year is to have every one of our members “on the map;” that is, listed on the map on the website. The way to do that is to plant at least one native plant in your yard. And if you have no yard, a native plant in a pot on your balcony will still get you on the map. Watch Doug Tallamy's video here to learn about the urgency to get this done.
I believe Nature’s Best Hope should be required reading for every homeowner. It explains in clear English the critical loss of natural lands, native species, and biodiversity. Then it explains how every one of us can help slow that loss by planting native plants. The concept of Homegrown National Park® is that if every single homeowner in the United States converted half of his or her lawn into native plants, we could create a new national park measuring 20 million acres—that’s 20,000,000 acres. That would exceed the size of more than a dozen of our current national parks combined.
To quote Doug: “[A]s our population has expanded, we have exiled nature more and more to parks and preserves that are too small, too few in number, and too isolated to sustain it.” The goal of Homegrown National Park® is to reverse that trend and give both our native flora and native fauna a place to exist, grow, and roam once again. Not only their lives, but our lives depend on it.
The website for Homegrown National Park® is easy: https://homegrownnationalpark.org. Go there to register your property on the map, just as I did. You can add as much or as little detail as you want. You can list your exact street address or just your county or zip code. You can list every native plant on your property, or just one. But we urge you to get on the map. Florida, with our beautiful environment and our many plants, is underrepresented, being on the second lowest tier, with few people on the map. We can do better!
Throughout this year, we will post news, inspirations, and challenges for all of you, starting with Plant Native Day on March 4. The slogan of Homegrown National Park® is Start a New HABITAT®. Please join us and start your own HABITAT!
© 2023 Mangrove Chapter, Florida Native Plant Society