Conservation@Home and Wild Ones Greater DuPage Partnership

 In 2014, The Conservation Foundation’s Conservation@Home  program formed a partnership with Wild One Greater DuPage Chapter, to certify and distribute both C@H and Wild Ones yard signs to Wild Ones Greater DuPage members. This partnership is a great opportunity to share information, support both organizations, and reach more people about the benefits of native plants.

Who are the Wild Ones?  Clearly, the founders of this organization had a sense of humor when choosing a name to express their passionate dedication to promoting biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities.  Several years ago, the tag line “Native Plants, Natural Landscapes” was added to further define their mission and avoid confusion with biker clubs :-).  Led by Laurie Otto, they were a small group of forward-thinking citizens in the Milwaukee area who came into conflict with local government by growing unconventional plants on their property.  They decided to band together to make changes in their town and started Wild Ones, which has grown over the past 35 years into a national organization with over 50 chapters in 13 states, including several chapters in Illinois:  www.wildones.org/connect/chapters/illinois-chapters/

In spite of this growth, Wild Ones retains the friendly feeling of neighbor helping neighbor.  It is through the local chapters that the work is brought into each community at a plant-roots level.  Educational and inspirational speakers are scheduled during the winter months.  Once the plants come to life again, the Wild Ones move outdoors to hike natural areas and tour each other’s yards and gardens, sharing knowledge and friendship along the way. Conferences and workshops are held in the area several times a year to provide a more concentrated dose of information.  Through the national organization, members also receive educational information with additional workshops, a wonderful newsletter called “The Journal”, an informative website, online discussion group, and participation in programs such as “Wild for Monarchs”, a partnership with Monarch Watch and Monarch Joint Venture.

Oh , a sedging we will go, a sedging we will go….

Some of the 2014 DuPage Chapter outdoor activities included yard tours in Lombard, Glen Ellyn, Lisle, and tours of Green Valley Forest Preserve, Fine Line Creative Arts prairie in St. Charles, helping out at the DuPage Forest Preserve Native Plant Sale, a woodland native plant rescue, plus much more! A few of indoor activities included a free native plant workshop, potluck dinner with butterfly speaker, and seed exchange where members shared 106 native seed species, including many milkweed seeds.

If you are looking for an organization to launch you on a life-long journey of learning about native plants and the important role they play in our ecology, Wild Ones is for you.  In joining Wild Ones Greater DuPage chapter or another chapter, you will acquire dozens of new friends who share your interest in healing the earth, one yard at a time.  www.dupage.wildones.org

Authors: Pat Clancy , 2015 Wild Ones Greater DuPage President , Denise Sandoval, Conser vation@Home Assistant

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