Educational Resources

For education-related questions email [email protected]

View a list of our 2024 Educational Events


Follow the links below to find out more about your favorite native Michigan plants and related topics. Some are downloadable PDFs.

Benefits of Native Plants


Planning, Implementing and Maintaining a Native Garden

Getting Started with Native Plants

Site Analysis

Great Lakes Tree Planting Guide pdf

HOMEGROWN NATIONAL PARK® is a grassroots call-to-action to regenerate biodiversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants and creating new ecological networks.

Catalyzing a collective effort of individual homeowners, property owners, land managers, farmers, and anyone with some soil to plant in…to start a new HABITAT® by planting native plants and removing most invasive plants.

The initial goal is 20 million acres of native plantings in the U.S. This represents approximately ½ of the green lawns of privately-owned properties.

Homegrown National Park™ Let’s Get on the Map brochure pdf

Wild Ones River City challenges you to “GET ON THE MAP”

4 Universal Landscape Goals – By Doug Tallamy

NATIVARS (Native Cultivars)

Revised Nativars-Statement from National Wild Ones (2021)
Download Wild Ones Nativar statement pdf

How Effective are Nativars? video with Doug Tallamy

Native versus Nativar: Whats the difference and does it matter, by Linda Shuster, WORC member


Plants for Shade-Part Sun pdf

Plants for Part Sun-Full Sun pdf

Native Shrubs and Trees for Backyard Biodiversity pdf

Black Walnut Tolerant Native Plants pdf

50 Plant Species Common to southern Lower Michigan (a starting point)

To read or download articles about specific species click here.


WORC Chapter’s Recommended Resources
An in-depth book list compiled by the WORC Chapter Education Committee that includes:

• a description of each book
• beginner or advanced level
• number of copies at Grand Rapids Public Library
• number of copies at Kent District Library
• download site/comments


We have an extensive list of recorded webinar programs. View our video page.
Or watch on our YouTube channel @wildonesrivercity


A new Native Garden Design provided by the National Wild Ones was designed by two of our very own River City members—Amy Heilman and Rebecca Marquardt! Their plan is specifically designed for the Grand Rapids ecoregion. They and the designers for other cities were given the basic dimensions of the yard and foot print of the house and it was up to their imagination what the specifics would be.

Although the fictitious property is on an inland lake, it has many design elements that can be applied to various sites even if they are not on a lake. The general purpose of the plan was to show ways that homeowners can mitigate climate change issues, such as, retaining water on a property, improving soil structure, downsizing lawn, decreasing erosion, planting to create habitat, and arranging native plant communities that are suited to a specific set of growing conditions. Amy and Rebecca hope that people find some element of the design that will inspire them to adapt these ideas to their own properties. Download their entire design here. Read more about National Wild Ones free Native Design plans for other cities.

Grand Rapids Native Garden Design Video
Designers and Speakers: Amy Heilman, The Living Garden and Rebecca Marquardt, Revery
Hosted by Danielle Bell, Fall 2022


For Rain Garden information visit Washtenaw County Water Resources

Comprehensive list of Native plants for Rain Gardens pdf

Wild One River City Video: Rain Gardens: Cleaning up the River, One Garden at a Time


Virginia Bluebells, Mertensia virginica

Aman Park
Aman Park Images photo presentation of Spring ephemerals in the park

Guided Tour of Aman Park by William Martinus, botanist

Natural Features Inventory of Aman Park

History of Aman Park
by Kayne Ferrier, WORC Program Committee and retired librarian,
Grand Rapids Public Library

Hudsonville Nature Center
Hudsonville Nature Center Virtual Spring Ephemeral Hikes
videos by Craig Elston, Naturalist, Hudsonville Nature Center

Michigan Spring Woodland Wildflowers



Audubon Native Plant Finder (enter zip code to do a search of native plants in your area and the birds attracted to them)

National Wildlife Federation Native Plant Finder (BETA) (enter zip code to do a search of native plants and the butterflies attracted to them based on the research of Dr. Doug Tallamy)


Ten Steps to Successful Wildflower Planting – Michigan Wildflower Farm

Could you please tell me what native plants I can plant on the drain field?- MSU Extension

How to tastefully prairie a small garden bed.

Central Region Seedling ID guide for Native Prairie Plants


Supporting Native Bees in Your backyard pdf
Powerpoint presentation by Jenna Walters, Phd Candidate, MSU for Wild Ones on August 21, 2023

7 Things you can do for Pollinators – Pollinator Partnership

POLLINATOR PLANT LISTS AND POSTERS by Heather Holm, author of Pollinators of Native Plants (a wealth of information—FREE to download for educational use).

Flower Flies – Pollinator Partnership

Bee Identification Guide – Pollinator Partnership

Save the Stems Brochure How to Create Habitat for Stem-Nesting Bees

Nesting and Overwintering Habitat for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects Guide 

Keystone Native Plants for Pollinators  – There are two types of keystone plants: Host plants that feed the young caterpillars of approximately 90% of butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera). Plants that feed specialist bees who only eat pollen from specific plants. Keystone plants for native bees feed both specialist and generalist bees.

Soft Landings: Diverse Native Plantings under Keystone Trees
Providing critical shelter and habitat for one or more life cycles stages of moths, butterflies, and beneficial insects.


Plant Fact Sheets also with Attractiveness to Insects


The Mystery of Milkweed Pollination by Dana Visalli

Project Wingspan: Landscape Enhancement for Imperiled Pollinators of the Midwest

An Introduction to Moth Appreciation – Wild Ones River City YouTube video
Introduction to the Wonderful World of Moths
Moth Photographers Group

Creating a Wildlife Habitat in Your Backyard


Audubon Plants for Birds
Bring birds to your home by growing native plants. With Audubon’s Native Plant Database, you can find the best plants for the birds in your area. Growing bird-friendly plants will attract and protect the birds you love while making your space beautiful, easy to care for, and better for the environment. Explore all of our native plant resources here, including our factsheets on creating a native plant garden and how it can save you money.

Plant Trees that Turn Your Yard Into a Bird Oasis—and Carbon Sponge
Article by Janet Marinelli,
Trees create habitat and store CO2 for decades to come. Just pick carefully.

Article: A Yard Full Of Native Plants Is A Yard Full Of Well-Fed Birds, By Kathi Borgmann, Cornell Lab, February 27, 2018

The mission of Saving Birds Thru Habitat is to protect, enhance and restore habitat for North American birds and to educate people of all ages about this important mission and how to achieve it. Their goal is to improve habitat for migrating birds one backyard at a time.

IDENTIFICATION Plants, Insects & Birds





Leaf chart by Jerry Jenkins,
Northern Forest Atlas

  • The Northern Forest Atlas produces graphic tools for naturalists and ecologists. Their site contains photographic and digital images, diagrams, videos, and illustrated articles. Books, Guides, Charts, and digital products are available for purchase or free download in the Products section. Visit
  • Forestry Images provides free plant images (must attribute the photographer) provides an easily accessible archive of high quality images for use in educational applications. Visit


Green Infrastructure 101 video

Green Infrastructure in Grand Rapids, MI

Rain garden at Parkside Elementary in Rockford, MI video

Ever wondered where the rain goes? Sustainable drainage animation