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20 Ways To Observe National Wildflower Week

Coreopsis-covered vista Cheapside Road by  J. Griffis Smith J. Griffis Smith
Vibrant Coreopsis in DeWitt County. Photo by J.Griffis Smith.
  1. Do some research: You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home. Get on the Internet and look at wildflowers native to your area, region and state. Identify which wildflowers grow in your backyard or neighborhood. Visit www.wildflower.org/explore to get started.
  2. Take a local hike: Even a short hike can open your eyes to the wide world of wildflowers. Find a field or garden with a large wildflower population and take a slow walk through. Take a field guide or use NPIN mobile (www.wildflower.org/mobile) to identify the plants you see.
  3. Visit a botanical garden or wildflower center: Find a garden, park, or nature center, spend an afternoon looking around and see if a guided tour is offered.
  4. Volunteer: Many nature centers and gardens rely on volunteer work to keep their grounds looking good. Donate your time to keep native plants growing healthy.
  5. Donate: If you can’t give time, you might be able to give money. Even small amounts can help nature centers, gardens and parks with maintenance and other costs.
  6. Be a photographer: Even if you’ve never been a professional picture-taker, grab your camera and snap some photos of wildflowers around you – you might find you have a knack for capturing a still life or the beauty of nature – and you’ll have lasting memories of the blooms that year. And remember, “pics” are better than “picks” – a photo lets you and someone else enjoy the flower, rather than picking it only for your enjoyment. 
  7. Check out art: Many artists have been inspired by the natural beauty of the nation’s wildflowers. Research an artist that specializes in creating wildflower-themed art, and visit a local exhibit or look at prints, sculptures or paintings online. If you’re feeling creative, pick up a brush or clay and make your own wildflower art!
  8. Pick up a book: Not an outdoor type? Not to worry, even bookworms can participate in Wildflower Week. Authors have written books about wildflowers across the nation and in particular states. Find a book and read up on wildflowers and their benefits.
  9. Pick berries: While you shouldn’t pick the flowers, some native plants do grow berries that can be picked and that are good to eat. Parents, identify which berries are edible and pick some with your kids: it’s fun and good for you!
  10. Have a wildflower-themed snack: Why not make refreshments inside that remind you of the beauty outside? Adults, think about a mimosa or other flower-themed drink. For the kids, why not decorate cupcakes with flower designs? A tasty way to celebrate.
  11. Product scavenger hunt: Did you know that wildflowers and native plants are used in many commercial products? From scented shampoos to fibers in clothing, plant materials are big components in everyday items. Look around your house at tags and labels, and see what types of materials you use made from wildflowers. You may be surprised! Next time you go grocery shopping, look for products that use natural components like flowers and plants.
  12. Bug-out: Insects like bees are very important to keeping wildflowers vibrant and healthy. Find a field guide and identify the insects and bugs you find around wildflowers in your area. You might find helpers like bees buzzing around with pollen.
  13. Find an ecosystem: Wildflowers aren’t just for looking. They also sustain populations of wildlife and provide homes for critters you may not have thought about. Look around a patch of wildflowers and research what types of animals rely on them for food or habitat. For example, did you know that deer keep wildflowers as a staple food source?
  14. Start a garden: Whether you renovate your backyard or just plant some seeds in a small pot, making your own wildflower garden is a great way to celebrate native wildflowers. A perfect project for any age, find out what size garden works best for you, and pick out wildflowers that will grow well in your environment. Native gardening can help preserve a sense of regional identity and native plants typically work well with area soils.
  15. Keep your lawn flower-friendly: Even if you’re not the gardening type, keeping your lawn mown and free from trash and other objects can promote growth of wildflowers and other plants. You can keep your lawn looking good and do your part for wildflower conservation with minimal effort!
  16. Look up endangered wildflowers: Despite conservation efforts, wildflowers in every state are still endangered or threatened by urban development and habitat loss. Check out which plants in your state are in danger and what you can do to help.
  17. Legislate: Write a letter to your local state representative or get involved with an activist group behind conservation. Many factors today threaten to wipe out populations of our nation’s own wildflowers. Let your lawmakers know your opinions on conservation of our precious landscape.
  18. Set up a recycling plan: Trash in landfills take up miles of land that could support plant life. Do your part by recycling and reducing your impact on landfills.
  19. Be conservation-conscious: With so many threats to the environment, wildflowers and all plant and animal life is being affected. To celebrate Wildflower Week and take your commitment beyond this week, look at what you can do to be more environmentally friendly. Some examples include considering taking mass transit or a bike to school or work, reducing your energy bills at home or using organic products. Keep looking forward, and make sure there will still be wildflowers and other plants to enjoy for years to come.
  20. Spread awareness: Tell your friends, family, neighbors and others about native wildflowers and their importance to the natural landscape. Encourage them to get involved with National Wildflower Week in their own ways.

Download the full list (pdf).