Frequently Asked Questions

Who are we? Are you affiliated with the Wild Ones in the Midwest?

We are a chartered chapter of Wild Ones Natural Landscapers Ltd., the national non-profit organization headquartered in Wisconsin. We are the only chapter in the West and in Colorado. We enjoy support from and collaborate on projects with the national organization and other chapters. Although we have access to resources and guidelines from the national organization, we enjoy the freedom to shape our chapter to meet the needs of our region and community.

How large is the Front Range Chapter?

Our membership is growing! Following a strategic planning meeting in the fall of 2018 and an expansion of our board of directors in 2019, we have more than tripled in size — 355+ members! Geographically our chapter ranges along the Front Range from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs; Crestone to Eagle – Vail.

How do you connect with your members?

Our monthly e-newsletter has many uses: it features interesting and practical articles as well as highlighting upcoming events and volunteer opportunities. We send regular e-blasts alerting members and our associated community about the current educational programs and events. There are also frequent posts to social media (find us on Facebook). Our quarterly member mixers are part social, part educational online events. You can always reach out to us at [email protected]

How are you different from the Colorado Native Plant Society (CoNPS) and other conservation organizations?

Wild Ones’ main objective is to support homeowners and municipalities who are stewards of land to transform their landscapes into water-saving havens for native plants and wildlife.

The Front Range Chapter of Wild Ones is part of a group of organizations in Colorado that advocate for native plants. Wild Ones Front Range Chapter is one of several organizations in Colorado that advocate for native plants. We share mission alignment with CoNPS, People and Pollinators Action Network, and the Audubon Rockies Habitat Hero program, to name a few. We partner with these groups on many things, including the Landscaping with Colorado Native Plants Conference and the Colorado Native Landscaping Coalition.

How do you define a native plant? 

Wild Ones defines a native plant as one that occurs naturally in a particular region, ecosystem and/or habitat and was present prior to European settlement. Expanding on this, Doug Tallamy and Rick Darke define a native plant in their book The Living Landscape as a plant or animal that has evolved in a given place over a period of time sufficient to develop complex and essential relationships with the physical environment and other organisms in a given ecological community. With these definitions in mind, Wild Ones advocates for the selection of plants and seeds derived, insofar as is possible, from local or regional sources at sites having the same or similar environmental conditions as the site of planting. Such plant material is often termed “the local ecotype.” Sourcing local ecotypes is especially critical when engaged in wildlands restoration projects.

Why Plant Native Plants?

  • Over 3,200 native plant species grow in Colorado resulting in many options for design and beauty
  • Natives are suited to our extreme semi-arid climate with hot, dry summers and extreme cold in the winter
  • Natives require less water, preserving our limited resources
  • Natives thrive in clay, alkaline soils
  • Natives require less maintenance and fertilization causing much less runoff of toxic fertilizers and pesticides
  • Natives attract birds, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators to your garden
  • Natives support caterpillars – did know that baby birds eat thousands of caterpillars in their few weeks in the nest? Fewer caterpillars, fewer birds. The perennial Goldenrod (Solidago) supports 56 species of caterpillars! To find the native species that support the most caterpillars in your area – go to the National Wildlife Federation Native Plant Finder website.

How do I find native plants or seeds?   

Our Chapter hosts native plant and seed swaps. These are public, pay-it-forward events. At the plant swaps, members and supporters donate plants that they have grown from seed or dug from their gardens. For the native seed swaps, seeds are collected in the member’s home garden and public landscapes. As our gardens grow, so does our capacity to share plants and seeds.

Native plants are not as readily available as xeric and non-native plants. Growers and nurseries have a harder time propagating and selling these species. As the public recognizes the value and uses of natives, more nurseries will supply them. 

Remember to ASK for native plants at your local garden center.