NEWPORT NEWS EXTENSION MASTER GARDENERS raising awareness with Homegrown National Park yard signs and more!

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NEWPORT NEWS EXTENSION MASTER GARDENERS raising awareness with Homegrown National Park yard signs and more!

The Newport News Extension Master Gardeners “influencers” are showing off their HNP signs and encouraging others to GET ON THE HOMEGROWN NATIONAL PARK® MAP through their Garden for Nature Program. They have registered 13 sites from their city on the MAP and bought HNP yards signs in bulk to provide free of charge to members who get “on the MAP.” WOW!!!!

According to Janet Rash, president of Newport News Master Gardeners Association and co-chair with Alison DeWitt of the Garden for Nature Program 2 factors motivated them to create the Program and to take action. One was their on-going concern about the survival of natural ecosystems and the other was a Book Study Group Read of Nature’s Best Hope. They moved fast to raise awareness of the biodiversity issue and providing resources to take action – including getting on the HOMEGROWN NATIONAL PARK® MAP. This program is less than a year old and the outreach and success is incredibly impressive, collaborative and inspiring! Perhaps a guide to follow in our own communities!

From Janet Rash and Alison DeWitt :

We developed and posted on our website,, the following information:

  • a resource list for native plants and related information
  • a list of “keystone” flowers, shrubs and trees - those plants that provide the most support of nature
  • the Virginia Invasive Plant List
  • a list of actions to take to participate in the restoration of ecosystems
  • a variety of garden diagrams for use in your yard
  • a list of native plants deer don’t love!

Other materials, collaborations and activities:

  • A flier about changes in yards - the installation of native plants, and the removal of invasive plant species - has been created to give to neighbors.

  • Members of our group have conducted home visits for numerous residents, including our own members, advising them on how to incorporate more native plants in their yards and the removal of any identified invasive plants.

  • By year’s end, we will have sold over 3000 native plants to our members and community residents for installation in their yards. 400 native trees and shrubs have been distributed, including 84 donated by the Department of Forestry and 250 donated by our City.

  • We created a partnership with Habitat for Humanity that will enable us to educate their potential homeowners about the importance of native plants and will donate and teach them to plant a native tree on their new properties.

  • We have taken trips to North Carolina and Maryland to secure straight-species native trees and shrubs for our members.

  • Through our encouragement and efforts, our local Parks and Recreation Department now has an account with a local native plant grower who doesn’t use pesticides.

For more information please check out their site and go to the Garden for Nature Project:


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