North Carolina is home to more than 3,900 native plant species, making it one of the most diverse states for flora in the Southeast. These native plant species are not just beautiful—they are a vital source of food and shelter for birds. That's something worth celebrating.
Gov. Roy Cooper agrees. In partnership with Audubon North Carolina, the governor designated October 21-27 as “Native Plants Week," highlighting the importance of native plants to birds, pollinators, and North Carolina’s natural heritage.
This is the third year in a row that the governor has proclaimed Native Plants Week. During the first Native Plants Week in 2017, we teamed up with First Lady Kristin Cooper to plant 1,000 native plants at the Executive Mansion, making it a model bird-friendly yard for North Carolina and sanctuary for birds and butterflies passing through downtown Raleigh. We visited the garden again earlier this month and can report that it's thriving.
The proclamation also comes on the heels of a new law earlier this year that will make native plants the default along North Carolina roadways. Audubon helped passed the bipartisan legislation, Senate Bill 606, which ensures the North Carolina Department of Transportation will prioritize native species of trees, grasses, and legumes when the agency plants vegetation along highways.
Growing native plants is one of the simplest ways you can help birds, starting today. Use Audubon's online tool to find native plants near you and consider adding trees, shrubs, grasses, and perennial flowers to your yard, helping birds for years to come.
Read the governor's full proclamation:
NATIVE PLANTS WEEK
BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
Whereas, native plants are an important part of North Carolina’s natural heritage, history and identity; and
Whereas, North Carolina’s native plants are indigenous to our region, and have adapted and evolved over many years to flourish in the unique geography, hydrology, and microclimates of our state; and
Whereas, more than 3,900 native plant species make North Carolina one of the most diverse states for flora in the Southeast; 26 of these species are extremely rare and considered federally threatened or endangered; and
Whereas, native plants provide high-quality food and shelter for North Carolina’s native wildlife, including butterflies, bees, and other pollinators, and both game and nongame species; and
Whereas, native plants support more than 350 species of resident and migratory birds in North Carolina, many of which are species of concern and increasingly threatened by climate change; and
Whereas, the State of North Carolina gives homage to American Indians and their knowledge of native plants that have provided many generations with food, medicine, and other essentials; throughout our history, North Carolina has benefitted from the economic impact of native plant products, ranging from the blueberry industry to American ginseng exports; and
Whereas, gardens and landscapes composed of North Carolina's native plants require less water and little or no fertilizers, soil amendments, or pesticides; and
Whereas, the North Carolina office of the National Audubon Society as well as other organizations and businesses, including nurseries and retail-garden centers, work to expand the market for our native plants; and
Whereas, by cultivating North Carolina’s native plants, we honor our heritage, sustain the beauty and benefits of our natural resources, and preserve a natural link to wildland areas both past and present;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, ROY COOPER, Governor of the State of North Carolina, do hereby proclaim October 21-27, 2019, as “NATIVE PLANTS WEEK” in North Carolina, and commend its observance to all citizens.