‘In the Zone’ label makes it easy for gardeners in southern Ontario to identify native plants good for pollinators and wildlife
A new native plant tag, unveiled by World Wildlife Fund Canada and Carolinian Canada, makes it easier for gardeners in southern Ontario to choose plants that are good for wildlife and the environment.
Developed in consultation with native plant growers as part of the In the Zone wildlife gardening program, the new tag identifies plants that are native to southern Ontario’s ecologically threatened Carolinian zone, locally grown and ethically sourced.
To join In the Zone and help grow Canada’s biggest wildlife garden, visit IntheZoneGardens.ca.
Sarah Winterton, director of nature connected communities at WWF-Canada, says:
“What we plant matters. But it’s hard to tell which plants are truly native without common standards for sourcing and labelling. This new native plant tag, at participating nurseries, helps gardeners identify plants that are native to southern Ontario, where habitat loss – including the loss of native plants – has contributed to deep wildlife decline. Southern Ontario is home to more at-risk species than anywhere else in Canada.
“When gardeners choose plants with the In the Zone native plant tag, they can be assured they’re helping grow healthier landscapes for communities and for wildlife. We hope the In the Zone plant tags will make native plants a more attractive option for gardeners and inspire more people to look at their gardens and green spaces differently: as potential habitats for bees, butterflies, birds and other wildlife.”
Michelle Kanter, executive director at Carolinian Canada, says “A native plant tag is integral to our larger effort to help people grow Canada’s biggest wildlife garden across the Carolinian Zone. Together, we can create a network of high-quality habitat for wildlife and climate-resilient, healthy communities, as well as support green jobs in the native plant industry. Together, we can take positive action to grow a green future, as we enter the United Nations Decade of Ecological Restoration.”
• Most of Ontario’s 243 species at risk are listed because of habitat loss, including the loss of native plants and intense human development. Native plants and wildlife depend on one another for pollination, habitat and shelter.
By choosing native plants, gardeners can help restore natural habitat and improve biodiversity.
- Create healthier landscapes: Natural habitat levels in southern Ontario must be doubled to meet federal guidelines for healthy ecosystems.
- Climate and water smart: Native plants are specially adapted to local conditions, can survive in drier conditions and are more resilient to climate change. By choosing native plants, gardeners can help grow healthier landscapes for wildlife – and people, too.
- Global call for restoration: On March 1, 2019, the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration was declared to massively scale up the restoration of degraded and destroyed ecosystems as a proven measure to fight the climate crisis and enhance food security, water supply and biodiversity.
Plants bearing the In the Zone plant tag have been identified by conservation experts as native to southern Ontario and are grown using locally and ethically collected seeds. The standards are based on best practices and are voluntarily met by participating growers.
By raising the profile of native plants, the In the Zone tag will help increase demand and strengthen support for growers in southern Ontario.