One of my duties as chapter president is to submit an annual State of the Chapter report to Wild Ones national. As I reviewed our 2013 activities, I realized how far we’ve come in our first full year as a Wild Ones chapter. While we didn’t hit every goal, we accomplished quite a bit of what we set out to do this year. In fact, we actually accomplished MORE than what we had sketched out at the beginning of the year.
I want to thank everyone, including our partner organizations, who helped make it possible. Our partners in 2013 include, in no particular order, the Master Gardeners of Hamilton County, Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center, the Tennessee Aquarium, the Friends of the Cumberland Trail, the Chattanooga Association of Landscape Professionals, and the Chattanooga Area Food Bank. And of course, there are the Wild Ones — truly forces of nature!
–The Second Annual Native Plant Symposium reached over 180 participants and in addition to excellent information provided an opportunity to buy native plants, art, and learn from exhibitors.
–Participated in the design of a Certificate in Native Plants program in conjunction with the Chattanooga Arboretum & Nature Center and the Tennessee Native Plant Society. The program will be introduced in January, and classes will begin in February, 2014. (We’ll be posting more information about this exciting new program.)
–Designed and installed a native plant Butterfly Garden at our partner organization the Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center. We have pledged our support to design and help pay for interpretive signage.
–Supported and helped install a Natural Path in partnership with the Master Gardeners of Hamilton County at the Chattanooga Area Food Bank. We donated $500 to the Master Gardeners of Hamilton County to purchase native plants for this path that abuts the Chattanooga Riverwalk Park.
–Rescued native shrubs, trees, and wildflowers through the Rescue Program featured in the June Wild Ones Journal . Our chapter was credited by the developer in recent press releases as being important to this eco-friendly development. Some of these rescued plants were recently used to landscape a trailhead on the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail as part of a local Eagle Scout conservation project.
And of course, there was the Wild For Monarchs program and a lot of Milkweed activity:
–Plunged headlong into the project by purchasing 1,500 milkweed plugs from Monarch Watch
–Participated in the “Master Your Garden” Master Gardeners of Hamilton County Expo with a Wild For Monarchs exhibit
–Held a member-only Milkweed Preview Sale and sold milkweed by the flat and half flat. Many Wild Ones took advantage and we sold more than 22 flats (around 700 plants) that rainy afternoon in May.
–Sold milkweed during the Chattanooga Area Food Bank Spring Garden Tour (this received mention in Chattanooga Times Free Press Article promoting the CAFB fundraising event http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/may/25/beyond-the-garden-gate/. Thank you, Food Bank, for providing us with the opportunity!
–Presented “Wild For Monarchs” to the Master Gardeners of Hamilton County monthly meeting in June and sold milkweed to MGs inspired to help Monarchs
–Sponsored with the Tennessee Aquarium “Mystery and Magic of the Monarch” a terrific presentation by Wanda de Waard. Attendees were given a New England aster, an important butterfly nectar plant, and remaining milkweed and New England asters were also sold to participants. (WUTC 88.1 FM gave us some press: http://wutc.org/post/dewaard-presents-mystery-magic-monarchs-825)
–Donated milkweed to several local schools to support their Monarch Waystations. Word got out about our activities through our local public radio station, WUTC 88.1 FM. (You can listen to a podcast of one of the stories here: http://wutc.org/post/tn-valley-wild-ones-planting-milkweed-save-monarchs)
In addition to these program highlights, we hosted educational meetings, hikes, build days, milkweed up-potting sessions, propagation workshops, and more. If you couldn’t find something that struck your fancy, well, I just don’t know what to say!
Stay tuned — 2014 could be even bigger and better!