Richard Louv in Last Child in the Woods, points out that the baby boomers are the last generation of Americans to share an intimate, familial attachment to the land and water/ The importance of nature to our well-being has been demonstrated by numerous studies correlating improved learning, an increased sense of well-being, and reduced crime in neighborhoods with trees and parks. In addition, folks don’t save something they don’t love, so we want to help them do so.
The Native Plant Society of Texas created the Native Landscape Certification Program in order to contribute to a migration of Texans back to nature that will reap priceless benefits for our families, environment, and economy.
The program is a series of classes that teach best practices for native plant landscape and habitat preservation and introduction. The format is a combination of classroom instruction with PowerPoint and outside fieldwork. Each class is taught adjacent to a natural area so we can provide instruction in native plant identification, including trees, shrubs, forbs and grasses, their use in the landscape, as well as common exotics found in the landscape. At each level students are introduced to fifty plants.
Targeted audiences are homeowners, native plant enthusiasts, landscape architects, architects, landscape designers and nurserymen, Master Naturalists, teachers, citizens, Master Gardeners, engineers, and more.
Classes are currently offered only in a few cities. Future plans are to offer it in all the major cities of Texas.
We look forward to increased use and cultural acceptance of native plants in urban landscapes and rejection of invasives, improved marketability of native plants, a greater sense of place for residents and visitors, appreciation by landowners of their land’s natural assets, increased community rejection of destruction of natural resources, increased production of native plants by the horticulture industry, increased presence of “desirable” wildlife species in urban landscapes and reduced undesirable wildlife, such as grackles, and increased advocacy by licensed professionals for native plants.
The project was conceived by former Native Plant Society of Texas President Melissa Miller and former San Antonio city arborist Debbie Reid, who helped found the Texas Master Naturalist program. Melissa continues to be involved in San Antonio area classes.