One Small Action
Updated: Jan 14, 2022
By: Kathy Chambliss
A vibrant orange and black butterfly settles onto a nodding bright yellow flower. The nectar from this flower, a native Rudbeckia species, will sustain the Monarch butterfly on its unfathomable journey to the mountains of Mexico. Nearby, honeybees and other insects hum and hover over goldenrod species (Solidago) and asters (Symphyotrichum sp.).
Fig. 1 Monarch on Rudbeckia sp.
Fig. 2 Honeybee in a field of Goldenrod
Fig. 3 Sulphurs on Asters
We don’t need to visit a meadow or forest to witness these interactions. We can plant and advocate for native plants in the spaces we inhabit: where we live, work, shop, and exercise. We can purchase native plants and seeds from local growers, gardens, and arboreta.
Fig. 5 Early Spring Paw Paw Blooms
Fig. 6 Eastern Dogwood
Fig. 7 Highbush Blueberry
When we plant or advocate for native plant species, we address several environmental issues: climate change, habitat loss, poor air and water quality. Moreover, native plants catalyze positive changes. They invite native insects and native birds back into our lives.
Fig. 8 Painted Lady on a Coneflower
Fig. 9 Cloudless Sulphur on a native Honeysuckle
We gain beauty and peace of mind, knowing that in our own small corners of the world, we have provided sustenance for species whose lives are quietly unfolding alongside of and supporting our own. A small individual action shared and adopted by more and more individuals, amplifies impact.
Fig. 10 Child with a Tiger Swallowtail on Joe-Pye Weed
Resources: Native Plant Finder, Homegrown National Park , U.S. Botanic Garden Native Plant Recommendations
“Dr. Kathy” is happiest when she is working alongside others to achieve shared goals that are regenerative and giving, and when she is hanging out with, beholding, and photographing other species in wilderness areas. A traveler and a volunteer, she has worked on citizen science and cultural projects in countries across the globe. Her current work with Goucher College & NorthBay Education fits her focus on projects and programs that empower, connect, and give.