Monday, June 20, 2011

Native Plant Database for Chesapeake Region Now Online

Last week the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and Image Matters LLC unveiled their new online Native Plant Center. The new site provides a very user-friendly way to identify and/or select native plant species for the Bay watershed.

The online portal includes a fully-searchable database and online access to their incredibly popular booklet titled Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

That small booklet with the long title is often simply called that "orange booklet magazine thing that has all those native plants in it." Being able to access the publication online anytime will be a real boon for those of us who find ourselves in field, garden or hardware store asking questions about the plants in front of us. (My own hard copy of the booklet is quite dog-eared and coffee stained at this point, and has traveled the state in the passenger seat of my car as I went plant shopping.)

"Since its release in 2003, the demand for the resource has never waned," said Leopoldo Miranda Supervisor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Chesapeake Bay Field Office, referring to the booklet in a recent Alliance press release.

He's not kidding. I once was at a native plant meeting where someone opened a box of them to give away for free and the audience members descended like hungry hungry birds to grab their copies. Having it freely available online is really great.

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