Monday, October 01, 2007

The Taxa Man

According to this story in the Philadelphia Inquirer, homeowners in Pennsylvania can now get their very own environmental audits - for free! Audubon Pennsylvania has partnered with Friends of the Wissahickon to sponsor the program, which involves a visit to the homeowner's property from the Audubon at Home program. Once there, an Audubon staffer will survey the property and point out all of the invasive plant foibles. Participants also get lots of advice on native plant alternatives and how to make homes more inviting to local wildlife.

It turns out there are actually lots of options, at least in the Pennsylvania area, if you are looking to getting your own home an environmental audit, though a fee is typically required. If you live in the Northeastern USA and want to check out some alternatives to replace your invasive plants, you are also welcome to play with this tool my lab developed using the nursery catalog of the New England Wildflower Society.


Unknown said...

Hey excellent idea: input "stilt grass"; get "clematis viorna"? Uhm, why would a native vine be the alternative choice for an annual grass.... ok so let me try again: burning bush: get "no alternative" ..I would have expected a sumac of some sort. Ok so this is the beta and is none the less a great idea. Keep0 on tinkering

Jennifer Forman Orth said...

Did you really go in there and manage to only pick two of the three or so species that get no good hits?

Why not accentuate the positive: 9 alternative for Autumn olive, 13 for privet, 15 for Bishop's weed!

Keep in mind two things:

1) It's only as good as the nursery catalog.
2) Native species cultivated are not necessarily selected to have characteristics similar to invasive ornamentals.