Like most of you, I have a passion for spreading the word about native plants. Nothing made this passion come to life more than volunteering at a booth for the GNPS at the Community Day event on the Oldcastle Nature Trail at the Marcus Autism Center. It is always great to post an informative link about native plants and ecosystems on social media, but to get out and talk with people face to face can be even more effective and rewarding. Working at a festival is the perfect way to get the word out, have a conversation about native plants, and also advocate for GNPS. Jacqueline and I spent a lovely Saturday in the Fall promoting the cause.
We set up a booth in the shade along with the Audubon Society, Trees Atlanta, Shady Brook Sheep, and others. Our props included vases filled with cuttings of native plants and vases of non-natives. We also had a live Gulf Frittilary caterpillar on a Passiflora. The elementary school-age kids and their parents enjoyed playing a matching game with cards of butterflies to match with the host plants. The live caterpillar and the matching game drew people into deeper conversations about planting natives. There is so much to tell the general public about natives. We barely got started. If someone took away one fact about butterflies needing a certain host plant or if they remember the name Pawpaw, it is a beginning. I know for sure we made one convert: an eleven year-old girl named Emma loved our booth so much that after visiting us twice she came back a third time to stay and volunteer!