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Helping the environment by using native plants
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Helping the environment by using native plants

Helping the environment with native plants

Although the Native Plant Society of New Jersey has existed since the mid 1980s (NPSNJ), the Hudson County Chapter was founded last summer by Co-Leaders Kim Correro and Lorraine Freeney.

Since then, the Hudson community has been involved in education and resource development to encourage the planting of native plants. The Hudson ReporterRecently, Correro spoke to me about the local chapter in NPSNJ.

It happened during the pandemic in that period when we were all quarantined in the house,” Correro said. “We only had our backyards and our parks. We would meet up in the park to look at the birds. We would look at the plants.”

Soon, this interest became a reality. Correro Freeney, Giambalvo, and Freeney reached out to establish a local chapter for the NPSNJ.

“One day, we came across the Native Plant Society of New Jersey and decided to call them up,” she said. “There was no Hudson County Chapter. They had chapters in Essex, Bergen Passaic, Cape May, and Passaic, but none in our area. We thought it was important to have such an organization in our area. So we asked if we could start the chapter, they were extremely welcoming, and its taken off from there.”

From pastime to passion

Correro and other founders became passionate about native plants in Hudson County.

“I cant say enough great things about the Native Plant Society,” she said.Our mission is to educate people about the importance of native plant species.Its such a great opportunity to heal the planet, one park at a time, one plant at a time.”

The Hudson County chapter has been active since its inception.

An Anise Hyssop is used to land a Cabbage White butterfly.

We hit the ground running and were really excited about it,” she said. “We have our own gardens that we work on. Weve been planting all the time.”

The organization’s main goal is to educate and provide access to the native plants to communities.

“Its really important to us, as a chapter, to find ways to bring plants to the people here and make them accessible to plant in the parks and the community green spaces where people gather,” she said.

An inaugural native plant sale was part of these efforts. Secaucus Green FestivalOn May 7, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Following that, the group will hold a special Mother’s Day planting on May 8 at Lincoln Park West from 10 a.m. to 11a.m., and they will partner with the Bayonne Nature Club for a nature walk in Rutkowski Park on May 9 at 6:30 p.m..

Participating in #HudsonGives

These events will be followed the group’s participation in #HudsonGives, a 24-hour fundraiser meant to benefit nonprofits.

The funds raised at this event will be used to plant native plants in ten parks and community garden in Hudson County schools, including:Lincoln Park West (Jersey City);Rutkowski Park;Triangle Park;Triangle Park;Meadlowlands Park Secaucus as part a RutgersEnvironmentalsteward project; Dickinson High School in Jersey City. Canco Park in Jersey City. 5 in Jersey City;4H Community Learning Garden, Girl Scout Troop 12026 native bee garden;Triangle Park in Jersey City;Meadlowlands Park in Secaucus as part of a RutgersEnvironmental Steward project;Dickinson High School in Jersey City;Canco Park in Jersey City; andResilience Adventures at Hoboken.

The Hudson County chapter NPSNJ is raising funds for native plants at the PS5 in Jersey City. Photos courtesy NPSNJ.

“We have about ten different parks and community gardens in schools that we are going to be raising money for that day to be able to purchase plants and native shrubs for their garden projects,” she said. “Our hope through this fundraiser is to raise $5,000. If we can raise $5,000, we will plant plants. All of these parks.”

Native plants are a boon to native wildlife in the region. Correro explained that native plants are essential to maintaining local ecosystems in an already urban Hudson County.

With urbanization and development, especially in the cities, we are losing our insects,” she said. “Theyre not migrating through as much as they used to do because were putting up so much development. With more parks being established and more people learning about native plants, parks are doing everything they can to restore vital habitats. Its really critical for our birds and pollinators.”

‘Saving the planet, one park at a time, one plant at a time’

Planting native plants can also positively impact the environment in a time when climate changes are the biggest problem facing the planet.

“Native plants are good for the environment, air quality, and pollution,” she said. “When we have big rainstorms and flooding, native plants could help soak up some of that rainwater and pollution that will end up in our local streams and ponds. So its important that we educate our municipalities.”

P.S. 5 students learn how to plant in the school’s community gardens. 5 in Jersey City learn about planting in their school’s community garden.

Correro credits Secaucus for being a leader in the support of native plant planting. She also credited Bayonne and Jersey City for their efforts to do the same. This highlights the importance of conserving and promoting native wildlife.

“I dont know what we would have done if we were not able to go into the parks during that time,” she said. “Weve always been gardeners but this period was very educational in learning how the ecosystem works and understanding how the biology, how the biodiversity worls, and how the birds and the pollinators need to have these plants. If you plant it, they will come.’

The Hudson County Chapter, NPSNJ, will hold a second native plant sales in June. A third sale will take place in the autumn. [email protected] for more information. Follow them on Instagram @npsnjhudsoncounty for more information.

For updates on this and other stories, check and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at [email protected].

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