Native plants

Native plants, like these flowers, will be a focus of a new local Arizona Native Plant Society chapter, whose first meeting will be this month at Discovery Park.

SAFFORD — With rising local interest in learning about native plants and their uses in gardens and landscaping, some Gila Watershed Partnership (GWP) staffers are putting together a new chapter of the Arizona Native Plant Society in the Graham and Greenlee county area.

The Arizona Native Plant Society, formed in 1976, aims to promote knowledge, appreciation, conservation and restoration of Arizona native plants and their habitats.

“We focus on arid land plants that are not invasive to the landscape,” Gila Watershed Partnership Science and Outreach Manager Kara Barron said. “We’d like to show people how these plants can work for them and how they can enjoy them when they’re out in nature.”

“Native plants provide multiple benefits to people and wildlife, while contributing greatly to healthy soil and water in rural areas. They use less water, require less maintenance, provide shelter and food for wildlife and support pollinators, and promote biodiversity and stewardship of our natural heritage,” said a GWP/AZNPS news release.

“I’m excited to start a chapter here,” said Barron, a past president of the Phoenix Arizona Native Plant Society chapter. “Since coming to the Gila Valley and being part of the Gila Watershed Partnership, I’ve gotten to know community members and seen a great interest in native plants.”

An informational meeting for the newly forming chapter will be held Friday, Oct. 25, at 3 p.m., in the Circle D Ranch House at Eastern Arizona College’s Discovery Park Campus. The meeting is open to all, whether they plan to join or simply want to learn more. It will include an introduction to Arizona Native Plant Society, choosing a chapter name, electing officers, brainstorming possible activities — Barron said she would like to see field trips and guest speakers — and planning future meetings.

For more information contact Barron at 928-424-3886 or kara@gwpaz.org. To learn more about Arizona Native Plant Society visit www.aznps.com.

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