The #PlantNative Pledge

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Native plants are trees, shrubs, flowers, and other plants that originated naturally in a specific region (without human introduction). They provide tremendous benefits for our ecosystems, and they even help us fight climate change by taking harmful greenhouse gases out of the air!

Earlier this year, our organization submitted a letter on behalf of almost 100 organizations advocating for increased native landscaping in D.C. and throughout the United States (read below). Waterway Advocates is continuing this work by implementing nature hubs and pollination stations throughout Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties in South Florida.

Our communities must remain committed to planting native seeds, flowers, trees, and other plants. They are critical supporters of native wildlife, and they even help us prevent shoreline erosion with their strong root systems. Click on the photo to see a basic comparison of native vs. non-native vs. invasive plants for the South Florida region.

Native vs. Non-Native vs. Invasive root systems comparison (Infographic) (1080 × 1080 px).png

Here's the Challenge:

We need your help to restore native habitats and reduce carbon emissions!

By making the #PlantNative Pledge, you promise to improve your home lawns, flower and other gardens, and community ecosystems by using native plants and showing others why planting native is so critical.

I want to...

Thanks for making the #PlantNative Pledge! Help spread awareness with a tweet!

BIDEN HITS ONE YEAR MARK; OVER 100 LEADERS PUSH FOR NATIVE PLANTING

February 1, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. – 104 leaders from almost 90 non-profits, businesses, educational institutions, and state and local governments are urging the Biden-Harris Administration to convert the grounds of the White House and U.S. Capitol to 100% native, pollination-focused, and pesticide-free landscapes immediately. In their letter, the signers request that all federal grounds within the District of Columbia be converted by 2024, while encouraging all states and United States territories to implement the same landscaping principles on their grounds.

In light of last week’s one-year anniversary of Executive Order 14008 (January 27) that led to the creation of the “America the Beautiful” initiative, as well as the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26), organizations are mobilizing across the nation to reverse emissions and achieve significant habitat restoration. Native plants are a critical component of thriving ecosystems, as they provide important food and shelter for wildlife, all while taking harmful greenhouse gases out of our atmosphere.

“Reasonable, research-driven solutions, like these, yield tremendous benefits in our efforts to reverse climate change and increase biodiversity,” said Benjamin Swanson, Co-Executive Director of South Florida-based Waterway Advocates, Inc., the initiative’s leading organization. Learn more about these efforts and how we can #GoNative and create #ThrivingEcosystems together, at waterwayadvocates.org/plant-native.

ABOUT
Waterway Advocates, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization serving the communities and ecosystems of Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties, in South Florida. Our mission is to facilitate meaningful service-learning experiences that engage local communities in beautifying and protecting our ecosystems.

PRESS CONTACT
Benjamin Swanson
ops@waterwayadvocates.org
P.O. Box 8734, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33310
954-667-7710

###

SUPPLEMENTARY LETTER FROM WATERWAY ADVOCATES

Honorable Leaders,

 

In addition to the attached sign-on letter involving over 100 signatories, Waterway Advocates respectfully submits this supplementary input on behalf of our organization.

 

In light of last week’s one-year anniversary of Executive Order 14008 that led to the creation of the “America the Beautiful” initiative and our national goal of conserving at least 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030, organizations are mobilizing across the nation to reverse emissions and achieve significant habitat restoration. Native plants are a critical component of thriving ecosystems, as they provide important food and shelter for wildlife, all while taking harmful greenhouse gases out of our atmosphere.

 

There is an international and domestic drive to implement native landscaping. This is reflected in Thailand, where organic rooftop gardens sequester carbon from the atmosphere each night. We have several Embassies, like those of Tunisia and Switzerland, who are planting native and creating pollination hotspots in Washington. Also on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Canadian residence promotes public engagement in environmental conservation through their beekeeping programs.[1]
 

Simple solutions sometimes yield the greatest results. Implementing native landscaping in Washington will serve as the catalyst for a nationwide movement to #PlantNative, leading to significant economic and environmental growth. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that pollinators add almost $20 billion in crop production revenue each year.[2] The larva of many pollinators, such as butterflies, moths, and other insects, rely on specific species of native plants. Doug Tallamy, a veteran professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, found that “native oak trees support over 500 species of caterpillars whereas ginkgos, a commonly planted landscape tree from Asia, host only 5 species of caterpillars.”[3]

 

The United States must use its position as a global leader to pave the way with innovative, creative, and reasonable solutions to our climate emergency. In our international collaboration, we must take a step back to review some practical ideas we can immediately act upon. Native landscaping is one idea that will play a critical role in surpassing our 30x30 and COP 26 goals.

 

Thank you for making our future sustainable (so that our future exists).

 

With sincere gratitude,

Caleb Merendino

Co-Founder

Waterway Advocates

Benjamin Swanson

Co-Founder

Waterway Advocates

#PlantNative with Waterway Advocates.png

February 1, 2022

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20500

The Honorable Kamala D. Harris

Vice President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20500

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Speaker of the House

United States House of Representatives

H-232, The Capitol

Washington, DC 20515

Honorable President Biden, Vice President Harris, Speaker Pelosi, and other leaders,

 

We, the undersigned organizations, businesses, and municipal and educational leaders, work locally and nationally on issues relating to environmental conservation, water, and climate change. We write to urge you to convert the grounds of the White House and the United States Capitol to 100% native, pollination-focused, and pesticide-free landscapes immediately, and all federal grounds within the District of Columbia by 2024.

 

Furthermore, we ask that you vigorously encourage all states and United States territories to implement the same landscaping principles on their grounds.

 

We must take action to prevent the destruction of our intricate worldwide web of biodiversity. A 2017 study describes this as "biological annihilation," estimating that, "as much as 50% of the number of animal individuals that once shared Earth with us are already gone."[1] Insects that are vital to the survival of mankind are disappearing. Invasive flora and fauna are outcompeting their native comrades, having detrimental consequences on essential native pollinators. Societal emphasis on beauty and aesthetics, at the expense of environmental and human health, must stop.

 

We applaud the various U.S. ambassadors who are converting the grounds of their embassies into thriving native habitats. This simple, yet critical, step toward restoring native habitats throughout the United States will serve as an effective international model that is simple for nations, localities, businesses, and individuals to implement. Many organizations are already developing brilliant models, such as the Mt. Cuba Center, located in President Biden’s home state of Delaware. These thriving native habitats are also powerful agents of carbon sequestration, necessary in our strategy to reverse emissions and achieve significant habitat restoration, as outlined in the COP 26 goals. When we opt for native habitats and thriving ecosystems, instead of focusing primarily on aesthetic beauty, we take an easy step forward into protecting biodiversity and combating climate change. 

 

In the wake of COP 26, the United States must send a strong message, that we are not only beautifying our ecosystems but ensuring they thrive into the future. The well-being of our communities, economy, and ecosystems, depends on it.

 

With sincere gratitude,

Caleb Merendino

Co-Founder

Waterway Advocates

 

Kyle Brooks

Board Member

Waterway Advocates

 

Hallie Templeton

Legal Director

Friends of the Earth

 

Matthew Schaut

Clinical Director

Spring Path Mental Health

 

Olivia Shan

Restoration Coordinator

Palouse-Clearwater

Environmental Institute

 

Rebecca Rettmer

Executive Director

Lummi Island Heritage Trust

 

Marc Imlay

Biologist

Mattawoman Watershed Society

 

Maria Brindle

President

Friends of the Locust Fork River

 

Ronald Illingworth

President

North Pole Peonies

 

Chad Allen

President

Coastal Tank, LLC

 

Matt Dobbins

First Coast Chapter Chair

Surfrider Foundation

 

Carling Kirk

President

North Metro Atlanta Chapter of the Georgia Native Plant Society, Inc.

 

Kathy Sauber

District 6 Director

Michigan Garden Clubs, Inc.

 

Neil Bernstein

Adjunct Professor

University of Iowa

 

Scott McAdam

Assistant Professor

University of Iowa

 

Todd Larsen

Executive Co-Director

Green America

 

Margaret Frisbie

Executive Director

Friends of the Chicago River

 

Thomas Lamar

Executive Director

Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute

 

Rudy Arredondo

President / CEO

National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association

 

Julian Matthew

Board Member & Coordinator

Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment

 

Kelli Janice

Owner & Member

Willow Oak Flower Farm, LLC

 

Kelda Roys

State Senator

Wisconsin State Senate

 

Angela Turner Ford

State Senator

Mississippi State Senate

 

Sarah Unsicker

State Representative

Missouri House of Representatives

 

Kim Schofield

State Representative

Georgia House of Representatives

 

Michael Grieco

State Representative

Florida House of Representatives

 

Robert Figueroa

President

Paddle with a Purpose

 

Sara Kyle

State Senator

Tennessee State Senate

 

Rebecca Saldana

State Senator

Washington State Senate

 

Jeremy Katzman

Candidate

Florida House of Representatives

 

Nicole Lowen

State Representative

Hawaii House of Representatives

 

Jennifer Keintz

State Representative

South Dakota House of Representatives

Rep. Lynne Williams

State Representative

Maine House of Representatives

 

Susan Westrom

State Representative

Kentucky House of Representatives

Morgan Wilds

Chair

Virginia Surfrider Foundation

Benjamin Swanson

Co-Founder

Waterway Advocates

Nancy Barrett

Outreach Coordinator

Waterway Advocates

Tara Thornton

Deputy Director

Endangered Species Coalition

Janeese Lewis George

Councilmember

Council of DC

Kimberly Stoner

Agricultural Scientist

Connecticut Agricultural

Experiment Station

 

Aimee Petras

Executive Director

Farmington River Watershed Association

Tricia Burlison

Chairwoman

Democracy for America -

Maricopa County

Kelly Liska

Program Coordinator

Local First Arizona

 

Maria Rundquist

Community Activist

Northwest Iowa Sierra Group

Dennis Endicott

President

Peoria Audubon Society

Dave Doebler

Co-Founder

VolunteerCleanup.Org

Brittany Champey

Native Landscaper

Dropseed Native Landscaping

Patricia De Angelis

Botanist

Shamar Chin

Assistant Professor

University of Iowa

 

Michel Goguen

Artist

Open Strum

Lisa Haderlein

Executive Director

The Land Conservancy of

McHenry County
 

Amber Zionkowski

Head of Corporate Citizenship

American Automobile Association

(AAA)

Kari Dolan

State Representative

Vermont House of Representatives

Yvonna Cazares

Director of Community Engagement

Office of Mayor Libby Schaaf

City of Oakland, California

Kevin Ryan

State Representative

Connecticut House of Representatives

Mary Ware

State Senator

Kansas State Senate

 

Jonathan Brostoff

State Representative

Wisconsin State Assembly

Gregory Porter

Past President, National Black

Caucus of State Legislators

State Representative

Indiana House of Representatives

David Michel

State Representative

Connecticut House of Representatives

Sheila Ruth

State Delegate

Maryland House of Delegates

Lena Taylor

State Senator

Wisconsin State Senate

Pricey Harrison

State Representative

North Carolina House of Representatives

Christopher Belt

State Senator

Illinois State Senate

Mike Gabbard

State Senator

Hawaii State Senate

Kristina Schultz

State Representative

New Hampshire House of Representatives

Jay Livingstone

State Representative

Massachussetts House of Representatives

Dacia Grayber

State Representative

Oregon House of Representatives

Joseph M. Baldacci

State Senator

Maine State Senate

Alison Kocek

Vice President

Onondaga Audubon

David McVey

Board President

Waterway Advocates

 

Lori Ann Burd

Environmental Health Director

Center for Biological Diversity

 

Yaritza Perez

State Organizer

Moms Clean Air Force

 

Heather Good

Executive Director

Michigan Audubon

 

Juanita Irizarry

Executive Director

Friends of the Parks

 

Kathryn Goodleaf

Volunteer Coordinator

Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado

 

Pamela Miller

Executive Director

Alaska Community Action on Toxics

 

Christian Mundy

Vice President

Greencom

 

Micky Gutier

President and Chief Executive Officer

XYBOY, LLC

 

Stephen Overlock

President

Altacal Audubon Society

 

Rosa Rivera

Development Manager

Audubon Florida

 

Lisa Serafin

Executive Accountant

Traders Accounting

 

Edith B. Allen

Professor Emeritus

University of California Riverside

 

Adriene Barmann

Vice Chair, Broward Sierra Club

Member of Florida State Sierra Club Conservation Committee

 

Mary Pelletier

Director & Secretary

Park Watershed

 

Diane DuLoft

President

Waccamaw Audubon Society

 

Alba Tirado

Membership Chair

WildOnes Chesapeake

 

Tim Mathern

State Senator

North Dakota State Senate

 

Kaye Kory

State Delegate

Virginia House of Delegates

 

Brenda Carter

State Representative

Michigan House of Representatives

 

Rebecca Rios

State Senator, Democratic Leader

Arizona State Senate

 

LaDonna Appelbaum

State Representative

Missouri House of Representatives

 

Attica Scott

State Representative

Kentucky House of Representatives

 

Danielle Walker

State Delegate

West Virginia House of Delegates

 

Edith Patterson

State Delegate

Maryland House of Delegates

 

Jim Roscoe

State Representative

Wyoming House of Representatives

 

Robert Williams

State Representative

South Carolina House of Representatives

 

Patricia Torres Ray

State Senator

Minnesota State Senate

 

John Cloutier

State Representative

New Hampshire House of Representatives

 

Amy Perruso

State Representative

Hawaii House of Representatives

 

Louis DiPalma

State Senator

Rhode Island State Senate

 

Joseph Gresko

State Representative

Connecticut House of Representatives

Dr. George E. Young, Sr.

State Senator & Pastor

Oklahoma State Senate

 

Elizabeth Weight

State Representative

Utah House of Representatives

 

Parker Agelasto

Executive Director

Capital Region Land Conservancy