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‘Wild Ones’ nonprofit encouraging gardeners to plant native plants

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 4:26 PM CDT
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QUAD CITIES, Iowa/Ill. (KWQC) - The Quad Cities chapter of Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes currently has 41 members and are looking for more.

If you are interested in becoming a member, click here to apply. Memberships are available for those living in Rock Island, Henry, Mercer and Knox counties in Illinois, as well as Scott, Clinton, Jones, Muscatine and Cedar counties in Iowa.

Native plants provide food and shelter for pollinators such as butterflies and can even help reduce flooding.

“Wild Ones is a non-profit and what we are here to do is we are here to promote sound, native landscaping in your yards,” said Becki Wells, president of the Quad Cities chapter of Wild Ones.

The Quad Cities’ chapter of Wild Ones was formed in November, and currently has 41 members from Rock Island, Henry, Mercer and Knox counties in Illinois, as well as Scott, Clinton, Jones, Muscatine and Cedar counties in Iowa.

“I would love to see this chapter grow to several, several hundred members. But that’s probably up high in the sky. But, you know, right now 41 is a nice, controlled growth so we can continue to do our community outreach and continue to help people learn about why native plants are important,” said Wells.

Part of the group’s goal is educating people about the different types of native plants that can be incorporated into gardens.

“Black-Eyed Susans, Coneflowers, Swamp and Common Milkweed, Coreopsis, Blazing Star, Wild Columbine, Golden Alexander and man, many more,” said Wells.

“This group, I think what it is doing and bringing to the community is reminding people the importance of planting native plants in their yard, much more than cultivated,” said member Julie Ross.

Native plants attract pollinators such as butterflies, bees and beetles.

These plants help our food sources, our environment, and can even help reduce flooding, locally.

“They have very, very deep roots. They can absorb up to seven times the amount of water that a regular grass can, can sustain,” said Wells.

Wild Ones is a group of gardeners that can learn from one another.

“They really do a great job on having programs that are very interesting, very, very good for native plant gardening and it helps a lot getting to know other people that are doing the same thing,” said member Ken Wellnitz.

When shopping for native plants, gardeners suggest reading labels carefully because the plants are sometimes sprayed with chemicals that are not beneficial to insects.

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