Befriend nature: Choose native plants

Summit Metro Parks
2 min readMay 25


Karen Koch, Interpretive Naturalist

Royal catchfly

Want to support rapidly declining wildlife populations (including pollinators), conserve vanishing biodiversity and promote garden resilience? Use native plants to create pollinator gardens and support wildlife in your home landscapes!

With more than one million acres of urban and suburban habitat lost annually to development in the U.S., green space is necessary to help vital animal and insect populations, especially pollinators, thrive. Adding more natives annually and removing invasives will unleash a variety of benefits:

Provide a valuable food source. Having co-evolved with native insects, native plants support thousands of species of pollinators and other invertebrates that in turn provide food for birds, animals and us!

Great blue lobelia (left) and biglead aster (right).

Enjoy a lower-maintenance landscape. Many native plants require less watering and naturally improve soil health.

Promote biodiversity. Native plants will attract generalist and specialist species.

Protect water quality. Some native plants, such as big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), have deep root systems that help reduce storm runoff and flooding.

Enhance carbon storage. Native plants are highly efficient at absorbing carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and moving it deep into their roots. Those with bigger root systems, like leadplant (Amorpha canescens), capture more carbon dioxide!

Appreciate a beautiful aesthetic. Native plants come in all sizes, colors and shapes!

Are you ready to reap the benefits of a Wild Back Yard? Visit to get started.

For more stories like this, check out Green Islands Magazine, a bi-monthly publication from Summit Metro Parks. Summit County residents can sign up to receive the publication at home free of charge.



Summit Metro Parks

Summit Metro Parks manages 15,000 acres, 16 parks, three nature centers and more than 150 miles of trails. Find more at