We have a disappointing update to A3677, the NJ Bill to prohibit the sale and traffic of invasive species. Governor Phil Murphy has vetoed it under the rationale that the Department of Environmental Protection needs to be more involved in the drafting of the bill. For a bill of such critical importance to our state’s ecology, it is surprising that Murphy and the DEP did not work more closely with the Assembly and Senate and instead punted the work back to them for another year. Although an override is possible, as the bill had unanimous and bipartisan support in both houses, it is unlikely given the late date We will be advocating to send the bill back in front of both houses when the new session starts. Read his statement here.
Happy New Year!
The Advocacy Committee of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey is excited to report on our progress in 2023 to protect the native plants of New Jersey and to look ahead to new legislation. Your participation, by contacting the governor and legislators, will make a difference.
Bill to Ban Invasives – Finally on the Governor’s Desk
For the last two years, we have been working to pass New Jersey Bill A3677/S2186. This bill aims to prohibit the sale, distribution, or propagation of certain invasive plant species and establishes the NJ Invasive Species Council. It’s a crucial step toward controlling invasive species and protecting our native plant ecosystems. In the spring of 2022, we pushed to move this bill forward when few had faith in it. In December 2022, our committee co-chair Laura Bush testified about it before the NJ Senate Environment and Energy Committee and again before the Assembly Agriculture and Food Security Committee in May 2023. The bill finally passed both houses with unanimous support last week and now we are delighted to announce that it is on Governor Murphy’s desk. Even though this bill had bipartisan support in both houses, this does not mean the governor is certain to sign it. Please reach out to the governor via the governor’s website (https://nj.gov/governor/contact/all/), leave a voice mail at 1-609-292-6000 or send a text message to 1-732-605-5455 and encourage him to sign it. Letters are usually better, but there is no time!
New Jersey’s State Native Pollinator
A2994/S4229, which designates the Common Eastern Bumble Bee as New Jersey’s State Native Pollinator, is another bill we are closely following. This designation underscores the importance of pollinators in maintaining the health of our ecosystems and the crucial role native plants play in supporting these species by declaring the Eastern Bumble Bee as our state pollinator. Such laws play more than a symbolic role as they encourage people to learn more about our native plants and insects and their interplay. A note to encourage your state representatives to get this bill to the floor of both houses may help make it a reality. Find your state representative and senator here.
Mikie Sherrill Bill to Promote Federal Use of Native Plants
At the federal level, HR 6832, introduced by Representative Mikie Sherrill of NJ-11, aims to prioritize and consider the use of native plants in federal projects. This bill represents a significant effort to integrate native plants into larger conservation and landscaping initiatives at a national level. Do write your House Representative and Senators Booker and Menendez to encourage them to co-sponsor this bill. Find your U. S. senators or Members of Congress here.
We continue to track other bills as they are introduced and gain support at both state and national levels.
Finally, as we look forward to the new year, we remind you to renew your NPSNJ membership if you have not already. Your continued participation is essential for the advancement of our initiatives and the fulfillment of our mission. Together, we can continue to make a significant impact on the conservation and appreciation of New Jersey’s native plants.
Thank you once again for your dedication and support. We are excited to embark on another year of meaningful work in the preservation and celebration of New Jersey’s native plant heritage.
The Advocacy Committee of the
Native Plant Society of New Jersey
This offer has ended. Members receive 20 % off Tess Taylor’s new book Leaning Toward Light in time for the holidays!
Just log in and the code will be there on your member landing page.
Caring for plants (much like reading a good poem) brings comfort, solace, and joy to many—offering an outlet in difficult times to slow down and steward growth. In Leaning toward Light, acclaimed poet and avid gardener Tess Taylor brings together a diverse range of contemporary voices to offer poems that celebrate that joyful connection to the natural world. This book reminds us how gardening is a healing practice, both for ourselves and the spaces we tend. The gorgeous hardcover package with ribbon bookmark makes this anthology a distinctive gift.
Tess Taylor, an avid gardener, is the author of five acclaimed collections of poetry, including Work & Days, which was named one of the 10 best books of poetry of 2016 by the New York Times. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, Tin House, The Times Literary Supplement, CNN, and the New York Times. She has also served as on-air poetry reviewer for NPR’s All Things Considered for over a decade. She will be featured in episode 8 of The WildStory Podcast.
The recording of our Fall 2023 Conference, Hidden in Plain Sight: the Outstanding Natural Diversity of New Jersey is now available for viewing on Youtube. Visit the Fall 2023 conference page here.
In 2023, the Essex Chapter created a NPSNJ School Guide because helping kids learn about native plants is crucial to restoring local ecosystems.
Designed for parents and teachers, the 12-page Guide explains what native plants are, why they are important, and gives practical advice about how to plant and maintain a school garden that provides food and habitat for pollinators and birds.
The key feature of the Guide is a sample garden design for sun or part-sun conditions with 8 beautiful and easy-to-grow plants. In addition, the Guide gives detailed information for 17 other plants. All 25 featured plants were selected for their interest while students are in school and because of their high ecological value to wildlife throughout the year.
In the section “Bringing the Garden Outside,” the Guide lists lesson ideas for using the garden. Finally, the Guide contains practical tips for gardening best practices and school garden success.
Read it below, click here to download your free copy, or email for a printed copy.NPSNJ School Guide
The NPSNJ has just received pins celebrating our 40th anniversary. You can get these at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Harding Township, New Jersey. We encourage all of our members to explore the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Harding Township, New Jersey! The NPSNJ day at the Great Swamp will be held in conjunction with the Great Swamp Fall Festival – a fun filled day of adventure and discovery.
Be sure to visit the NPSNJ table near the refuge visitor center between 10:00 AM – 2:30 PM your free enamel pin celebrating our 40th Anniversary. If you aren’t a member yet, you can sign up on the spot with your smart phone.
Our new membership system is now in place and you may once again get memberships at https://npsnj.org/membership/. If you are a member and didn’t get an email from us, write
Native Plant Society of NJ Hudson County Chapter is asking for volunteers to help us build the pollinator garden at the St. Joseph’s Peace Care Healing Garden at the corner of Magnolia Ave and Baldwin Ave in Jersey City. We are looking to create a neighborhood task force of caring gardeners who can help us work quickly to prepare the ground for new native plants arriving in mid June. We will be removing invasive species and incorporating native plants to create a garden space that will attract birds, butterflies and other pollinators for the nursing home residents and their families to enjoy.
Also if anyone in the area has an old wheelbarrow they are not using we could use it for this project!
Garden Volunteer Days are:
Wednesdays 9:00am -11:00am
We will not meet on July 5th or July 8th
Update: this bill passed the Assembly on a vote of (74-0-0).
We just learned that the New Jersey Assembly is scheduled to vote this Thursday, May 25 on a bill to ban the sale of invasive species in our state. A NJ Senate vote should follow in the coming weeks. We have a real chance of banning the sale of invasive species in our state.
Please ask your NJ Assembly and Senate representatives to vote YES on bill S2186/A3677, which would regulate the sale of invasive plant species and establish an Invasive Species Council that will develop an invasive species management strategy.
Last December, NPSNJ endorsed a New Jersey Forest Stewardship Task Force Invasives Species Subgroup proposal to strengthen the original version of this bill, and the NJ Senate Environment and Energy Committee advanced the bill out of committee with amendments, including to reinstate the NJ Invasive Species Council. But the revised text of the bill still did not address key concerns.
Since then, the Invasives Subcommittee and collaborating stakeholders—including the NJ Nursery and Landscaping Association (NJNLA) and the NJ Farm Bureau—have achieved agreement to request further amendments to:
- Expand the strategic intent to include all invasive taxa, not only plants
- Clarify the role and functioning of the Invasive Species Council
- Include a clear role for the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (in addition to the NJ Department of Agriculture, already named in the bill), for implementation and enforcement
- Seek a clearer process to regularly add to the initial list of banned species—so that emerging species can be addressed.
- Include regulatory exemptions for specific non-invasive cultivars of certain regulated plant species.
Politics involves compromise and negotiation and while many of our members may be unhappy with #5, this is a compromise that was worked out with NJNLA.
Please let your legislators know that you support this bill. Spread the word! Share this message with your friends, family, and social networks, encouraging them to join our cause.
Find your representatives for your district here: https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/district-map
You can personalize the following text to email your representatives, although it’s even more effective to call them, write them a postcard, or write them an e-mail you have crafted yourself
Dear [Senator/Representative’s Name],
I am a constituent and urge you to vote “Yes” to enact S2186/A3677 that “Prohibits purchase, sale, distribution, import, export, or propagation of certain invasive species without permit from Department of Agriculture or Department of Environmental Protection; establishes NJ Invasive Species Council.”
Invasive species are considered the second greatest threat to biodiversity after outright habitat destruction. New Jersey has been severely impacted by a wide variety of invasive species causing harm to agricultural, forest and natural lands, leading to economic and ecological losses.
Enactment of this legislation will make New Jersey the 46th state to regulate invasive plants and establish a permanent council of qualified and experienced stakeholders to evaluate, develop strategy, and make management recommendations to manage the serious and growing threat of invasive species of all kinds more effectively and efficiently.
This law will be effective, efficient, flexible, and fair. It incorporates amendments developed by the New Jersey Forest Task Force (co-chaired by NJ Audubon, the NJ Conservation Foundation, NJ Sierra Club, and the NJ Forestry Association) in collaboration with the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association and the New Jersey Farm Bureau, in consultation with NJDEP, NJDA, and the NJ Board of Agriculture.
More than 40 conservation organizations across all of New Jersey cosigned a May 15, 2023, request to legislative leaders and bill sponsors to move this forward.
Thank you for your consideration and action,