Go Native with Us!

When: Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. (rain or shine)
Where: Bunker Interpretive Center, West Entrance

Native plants are flowers, grasses, trees and shrubs that have inhabited Michigan since before European settlement. Each year, we collect native seeds from West Michigan and propogate them in our greenhouses. The Native Plant Sale features more than 80 rare, unusual, and favorite varieties of native wildflowers, shrubs, and grasses for all growing conditions, including drought-tolerant, rain garden, and shade species.

Resource Professionals will be On-site the Day of the Sale to Answer Questions
New to native plant gardening or just need more information? Along with preserve staff, River City Wild One members, Kent Conservation District staff and volunteers, members of the Native Plant Guild, and Plaster Creek Stewards will be on-site to answer your questions about which plants to use where, how to get rid of invasive species, where to find professional landscape designers and where to find additional native plant species. Additional resources are found below.

Plants available at this year's sale: Coming in spring!

Learn more

For additional species information and photos, visit these online databases:

Native plants...

  • Are easy to grow and maintain, and require little watering and no fertilizing after they are established.
  • Provide beautiful, colorful plants that reflect Michigan's rich natural heritage.
  • Encourage biodiversity by providing food and shelter for native pollinators like monarch butterflies and seed eaters such as American goldfinches and cardinals.
  • Provide important sources of genetic diversity for wild populations of plants.
  • Help reduce global warming by sequestering carbon through their extensive root system which returns carbon to the soil.

Native landscaping video

Check out the great video that some GVSU students created for the River City Wild Ones about the importance of landscaping with native plants. A portion of the video was filmed at the Bunker Interpretive Center and in our native gardens, and features our own Professor David Dornbos.

Native Plant Guild: This is a list of local businesses dedicated to providing West Michigan with ecological landscape design, native plants, installation and maintenance.

Calvin College's Plaster Creek Stewards (PCS): For locations within the Plaster Creek watershed, PCS provides businesses, schools, churches, and landowners with native landscape design services, native plants, installation and maintenance. Their fees support their amazing work in educating about watershed issues and equipping the local community to take action to restore their watershed. If interested in contracting their services, contact plastercreekstewards@calvin.edu. Want to create a rain garden? Check out their step-by-step instructions.

River City Wild Ones' native plant vendor list

Ecosystem Preserve Pinterest page: If you are an educator looking to educate others about native plants and pollinators, check out our favorite list of educational resources, storybooks, art projects, apps, videos, and funding sources for creating native plant gardens.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Our former first lady and actress Helen Hayes founded an organization in 1982 to protect and preserve North America's native plants and natural landscapes. This website introduces people to the beauty and diversity of wildflowers and other native plants. It contains an extensive national native plant database, image gallery, step-by-step gardening instructions, literature, and amazing educational resources for teachers.

Michigan Audubon Do you want to attract more birds to your property? Our state's Audubon has quality information about creating a bird-friendly landscape. Their website includes elements of a bird-friendly yard, recommended plant lists, and wonderful landscape design ideas for a dozen different site types.

Michigan State University–Native Plants and Ecosystem Services: This website contains the latest research from Michigan State University about native plants and their beneficial pollinators. It is packed with native plant fact sheets, information on beneficial insects, scientific publications and teaching tools.

Midwest Invasive Plant Network: MIPN's mission is to reduce the impact of invasive plant species in the Midwest. It includes a diverse group of participants and partners. Their website provides the latest research and education materials about the prevention, control and management of invasive species in the Midwest.

The Pollinator Partnership: This nonprofit organization is the largest in the world dedicated exclusively to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems. Two of our favorite resources on their website include ecoregional planting guides and the Bee Smart® Pollinator Gardener's app. These resources help you find the right plants for your area to attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, beetles, bats, and other pollinators to the garden, farm, school, and every landscape.

River City Wild Ones: Wild Ones is a national, volunteer-powered, nonprofit environmental education and advocacy organization. Grand Rapids' local chapter promotes the benefits of native plants and sustainable landscape practices through monthly educational programs, field trips, and community service projects. The group is composed of citizens who possess varying levels of plant and gardening knowledge, from beginner to advanced. Visitors and new members are always welcome.

West Michigan butterfly nectar and host plant list

Proceeds benefit educational and stewardship programs at the preserve. Thank you for your support!

Native Plant Sale Gallery


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