The Palm Beach County Native Canopy Program, run by the Co-operative Extension Service and the County Environmental Resource Management Department, provides training on how to preserve existing native plants and has stepped up efforts to plant more in distributing free vouchers for native plants online.
“Native plants are beneficial because they use less water, are hurricane-resistant, and attract local wildlife and pollinators. Many are safe for horses, ”said environmental program supervisor Dmitriy Shvets. “We are losing a lot of native canopy. This is due to misinformed landscaping, invasive invasive alien plants, and hurricane damage replacements. “
Before the pandemic, the program distributed its plant vouchers mainly at community events. Most recently, he has organized online promotional events on the first Saturday of each month. The next giveaways are scheduled for July 3, August 7, and September 4. Visit www.pbcgov.org/nativecanopy for details.
“At the last event, we donated some 5,700 native plants of 24 species, including native shrubs, ground covers and trees,” said Shvets.
He said the education program is for everyone, from enthusiasts to those who have never heard of the effort to save native plants.
The program partners with West Palm Beach on special events and in areas underserved by the Cooperative Extension Service. It is funded by the Pollution Recovery Fund which is collected to mitigate environmental damage.
The response has been overwhelming when the organization has followed up to ensure donated items are planted. “It’s nice to hear that the plants are doing well,” said Shvets.
After obtaining one of the electronic vouchers, residents can take it to one of the many participating nurseries to obtain their native plant.
Nurseries participating in the Native Plant Program are: Southern Native Nursery, 16651 Van Gogh Blvd., Loxahatchee, (561) 798-1172; Quintessence Nursery, 14650 Okeechobee Blvd., Loxahatchee, (561) 792-9175; Indian Trails Native Nursery, 6315 Park Lane West, Lake Worth, (561) 641-9488; DR Bates Liners & Gallons, 17639 64th Place North, Loxahatchee, (561) 790-3246; Art by Nature Garden Center, 5155 Northlake Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens, (561) 718-2990; and Amelia’s Smarty Plants, 1515 N. Dixie Highway, Lake Worth, (561) 540-6330.
For more information on the Native Canopy program, visit www.pbcgov.com/nativecanopy.