By Tom Swihart
We are pleased to let you know that Wild Ones Front Range Chapter is a founding member of the new Colorado Native Landscaping Coalition. The Coalition is a collaboration between Wild Ones Front Range Chapter, the Audubon Rockies Habitat Hero Program, the Colorado Native Plant Society, the Colorado Wildlife Federation, and the People and Pollinators Action Network. Our main goal is promoting landscaping with native plants for healthy ecosystems in Colorado. Three specific Coalition objectives are to:
1) advocate and assist state and local governments and municipal agencies in promoting landscaping with native plants;
2) revise the definition of “xeriscape” to emphasize the use of native plants; and
3) encourage land management agencies to adopt regenerative management practices that build soil and support broader ecosystem health. Wild Ones and the Coalition advocate for native landscaping because native plants form the foundation of regional food webs and provide quality habitat for birds and other wildlife, among other reasons. In order to thrive, urban and suburban ecosystems need native plants. The vast majority of insect species are host plant specialists, meaning they can only forage on plants with which they have co-evolved. Insects are critical to ecosystem health; not only are they the primary pollinators of most plant species, but they are also the foundation of most bird and mammal species’ diets. Without native plants, and the insects that pollinate and eat them, our local ecosystems collapse.
We also know that spending time outdoors is vital to our own physical, psychological and cognitive health. The richer the environment, the greater the benefit, especially for children. In communities victimized by environmental injustice, there is great potential for positive changes. A transition to native landscaping and regenerative land management practices is also an act of decolonization. It recognizes both the harm that has been inflicted on generations of indigenous peoples and honors the values and practices of indigenous cultures who managed this land for millennia.
The Coalition is open to more members in the future. A two-page “Fact Sheet” about the Coalition is available here. For more information please visit our website or contact Wild Ones Front Range Chapter board member Tom Swihart directly at [email protected].
Curious to learn more about transforming your garden into a habitat with Colorado native wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees? Check out our native gardening toolkit, register for an upcoming event, subscribe to our newsletter, and/or become a member – if you’re not one already!