The Native Plant Sale: A Fun Place to Volunteer!

By Dylan Nelson | January 23, 2015
Happy Volunteers © H. Crosson
Happy Volunteers © H. Crosson

This February Benton SWCD will be hosting the 20th Annual Native Plant Sale. Development and invasive species are the two leading causes of reduced biodiversity in the Willamette Valley. The Native Plant Sale is an excellent opportunity for community members to aid the ecosystems of Benton County by planting a variety of native plant species. The sale offers over 70 species of conifers, broad leaf trees, large shrubs, small shrubs, grasses, and flowers. Special surprise plants are also offered on the day of the sale at a separate station. If you have a riparian area that needs protection, BSWCD even offers up to a 50% discount on orders of riparian trees and shrubs! Orders can be placed online until January 31. The 2015 Native Plant Sale pick-up day will take place from February 21st, followed by the Native Plant Market on February 22nd.

The other great thing about this sale is that it provides folks in the community a chance to give back to the environment by volunteering their time on the plant pick-up and market days. There were over 60 volunteers that worked a combined 230 hours during the 2014 sale, myself included. I was impressed with the organization of the sale and the communal support for the environment demonstrated by the customers and volunteers. Approximately 17,000 plants were sold during the 2014 Native Plant Sale, an increase of 4,200 plants from the previous year’s sale. I believe this growth indicates a growing awareness and concern for native ecosystems. I found my time volunteering at the Native Plant Sale to be very rewarding and recommend volunteering at the 2015 Native Plant Sale to any green-minded individual.

Many volunteer positions are still waiting for you to sign up!
On February 21st we need two dedicated LEAD volunteers to work from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. They do not need to have Native Plant knowledge. If you are interested in serving as a LEAD we will provide you with training.

LEAD tasks include:

Work all day, 8:30 to 5:00 pm, on Saturday, February 21st.
Train, supervise and enjoy getting to know the workers at your station through changing shifts.
Be responsible for the accurate distribution of plants.

On February 21st, we need volunteers to help fill orders for the three hour shifts listed below – no native plant knowledge necessary:

1 volunteer for 8:30 – 11:30 AM shift (conifer)
1 volunteer for 11 AM – 2:30 PM shift (grasses/groundcovers)
6 volunteers for 2 – 5:30 PM shift (conifer, broadleaf, large shrubs, and grasses/groundcovers)
3 volunteers (1 per shift) to manage boxes

On February 22nd, the Native Plant Market native plant knowledge is very beneficialwhen we sell the remaining inventory. Sunday customers ask many cultural and species-specific questions, so  on this day.

3 volunteers with native plant knowledge for 11:30 AM – 3 PM shift.
4 volunteers for clean up crew from 3-5 PM.

Benton SWCD staff look forward to spending a rewarding couple of days with you and the many other volunteers who make the Native Plant Sale a fun way to help protect our precious natural resources. Contact Teresa Matteson to find out more.

Volunteers at the Native Plant Sale © H. Crosson

About the Author

Dylan Nelson

Dylan graduated from Oregon State University in 2014 with a B.S. in Environmental Science with a water science & resources option. While attending OSU, Dylan spent 4 years as a student athlete on OSU's Men's Crew team. Rowing provided Dylan with a greater appreciation for water conservation & resource management.

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