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News Release

Go Native – Big or Small

Paige Buck, State Public Affairs Specialist
(217) 353-6606


Champaign, IL--With fall around the corner and the days getting cooler, what a great time to get out and redo some of those flower beds that faltered this summer. Thinking about what to plant? Well, keep in mind our increasingly endangered pollinators. There are many native plants that feed our pollinators from early spring to late fall. Not sure what to choose? The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Illinois is here to help.

“It doesn’t matter if you have small flower bed around your home or you are planting an acre,” says Ellen Starr, NRCS Biologist, “Keep these little guys in mind when you choose your plants.” Fall is considered the best time of year to plant native species of trees, shrubs, grasses, vines and perennials. The term “native” refers to all species of plants that historically occurred in your area. There are many benefits of native species like conserving water, no fertilizer or insecticides needed, protecting soil from erosion and creating habitat for wildlife. “It’s preferable to have three different species in bloom throughout the growing season.” continues Starr.

A native plant garden also can supply a neighborhood, community or countryside with beautiful flowers, and raise awareness about the importance of protecting and restoring local ecosystems for future generations. “Pollinators love native species,” says Starr “and are the first choice for food.”

To help you know what plants best suit your location, NRCS has developed a Perilous Plight of the Pollinator brochure and fact sheets. The fact sheets list native species best suited to dry, moist or wet soils. The brochure and fact sheets can be found on line at or contact your local USDA Service Center and ask your local NRCS employee for a copy. They can also help you with the timing of seeding or planting.

The USDA People’s Garden Initiative and Keep America Beautiful have joined together to encourage Americans to support local ecosystems by planting species native to their area this fall. The first ever National Planting Day took place on September 8 and will continue through November 30. “So don’t delay! Get out there and plant a flower, shrub or tree,” says Starr, “Next year you will reap the benefits with color and maybe see a butterfly, moth, hummingbird or bee that you haven’t seen before.”


Ellen Starr's front yard with pollinator loving plants






Ellen Starr converted a 10 X 40 foot grassy ditch to mostly
native beneficial pollinator plants and experiments with different
native plants throughout her yard.




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The following document is available in Adobe Acrobat format.
Perilous Plight of the Pollinators.pdf (PDF, 1,866 kb)