Chesapeake Region Native Plants

Native plants have grown in our region for hundreds of years or more. They are well adapted to our soil and climate, and have developed natural defenses to withstand many types of insects and diseases. By selecting native plants that suit local conditions, you can reduce or eliminate the need for fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and watering, which in turn reduces pollution flowing into local waterways and the Bay.

Native plants also provide the best source of food for bees, birds, butterflies and other wildlife! Did you know that exotic ornamental plants support 29 times less biodiversity than native plants? With few exceptions, only insect species that have shared a long evolutionary history with a particular plant lineage have developed the physiological adaptations required to use those plants. When presented with ornamental plants that evolved on another continent, chances are local insects will be unable to utilize them. So many animals depend on insects for food (including 96% of all terrestrial birds) that the loss of insects from an ecosystem spells its doom. Learn more about how to choose native plants that match your project goals and site conditions and where to purchase these plants (and seeds) locally!

Before You Start

Overview: Project Planning Basics

Overview: School Grounds Site Assessment

Eight Essential Elements of Conservation Landscaping

Design and Preparation

Overview: Project Design Basics

Online Yard Design Tool: Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

Choosing Native Plants


Overview: Project Implementation Basics

Where to Buy Native Plants

Check Invasive Species Laws in Your State (and contact legislators!)

Make Native / Invasive Plant Protest Cards (Model)

Plants in the Schoolyard


Overview: Project Maintenance Basics

Identify & Manage Invasive Species

Using Your Project

Overview: Using Your Project

Eco School Sustainability Pathways Lessons & Resources

Eco School National Standards & Curriculum Alignment

Project Learning Tree Curriculum Offerings

Eco Schools Green STEM Initiative

Sharing Your Project

Overview: Sharing Your Project

Resource Center

Project Resource Library: Learn More!
Eco Schools USA
National & State Green School Programs
Bay Backpack Teaching Resources Search Engine
EPA Learning & Teaching About the Environment (awards, resources, more)