Native landscaping has become popular once again, but it is not a new concept. A great organization which has supported native plants and ecological landscapes for 35 years is Wild Ones. It is the only national environmental education not-for-profit organization in the USA and has over 50 chapters, in nearly every state, and also in Canada.
Wild Ones Natural Landscapers Ltd was formally organized on July 23, 1979 and is often referred to simply as Wild Ones®. Their goal is to educate and share information at the “plants-roots” level and to promote biodiversity and environmentally-sound landscaping practices. This year they will be celebrating their 35th anniversary at their annual meeting at the WILD Center in Neenah, Wisconsin August 15-17, 2014. The public is invited.
Wild Ones publishes many educational materials including pamphlets, books, CDs and DVDs related to native plants and natural landscaping. They have published the Wild Ones Journal since 1988 and recently produced a presentation by Dr. Doug Tallamy: “The Vital New Role of the Suburban/Urban Garden.” (Dr. Tallamy is the author of the award-winning book Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife With Native Plants, and an honorary Wild Ones Director).
In 2007 the organization purchased the Wild Ones Institute of Learning and Development (WILD Center). The WILD Center serves not only as Wild Ones headquarters but is also a showcase for gardening naturally with native plants. It is a place for people to come to learn about native plants and natural landscaping to help them develop their own sustainable landscaping. Their goal for 2014 is to install educational signage throughout their grounds to help visitors learn about and understand the importance of using native plants in their landscaping.
Wild Ones implemented the Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education (SFE) Grant Program in 1996 and has given out more than $60,000 in member donated funds to not-for-profits throughout the USA that are developing outdoor learning centers using native plants.
In 2012 Wild Ones formed a partnership with Monarch Joint Venture and Monarch Watch’s “Bring Back the Monarchs” program, and initiated the Wild Ones “Wild for Monarchs Campaign.” It has been hugely successful in helping citizens to understand the need to restore lost habitat for the monarchs and to build new habitat for pollinators.
You can learn more about Wild Ones, and become a member at: www.wildones.org