NATIVE PLANT PROGRAM
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
The Borderlands Restoration Network Native Plant Program was founded in 2012 when a group of restoration practitioners identified and responded to the need for locally produced native plants. Native plants have spent centuries developing distinct adaptations to regional conditions, held deep in the plants’ genomes and expressed as increased drought-tolerance, cold-tolerance, and high nectar quantities for local pollinators.
The program now encompasses the production of over 100,000 plants a year and a regional seed center with over 550 collections of seed from wildlands. It is the product of many hours spent with wild habitats with fingers in the soil and many passionate hands of staff and volunteers producing a truly unique program that is a distinct expression of the exceptional experience of living in the borderlands.
Our mission is to promote and protect biodiversity by providing individuals, communities, and land managers access to restoration quality plant materials and guidance for effective use. We offer organically grown plants and seeds specific to the Madrean Archipelago’s semi-arid highlands, focusing on those with high habitat value and in-situ survival rates.
The Native Plant Program includes the Borderlands Restoration Network (BRN) Seed Lab, a seed storage and processing facility, and the BRN Native Plant Nursery, a plant and seed propagation/production facility.
Building Food Webs:
Our plant and seed offerings are strategically chosen to maximize habitat value for nectivorous (nectar-eating) pollinators and frugivorous (fruit-eating) birds and wildlife, supporting the foundation of strong food webs that ripple out to provide maximum benefit for habitat and wildlife.
Restoration is not limited to wildlands. By creating backyard habitats, human communities can also be actively engaged in supporting wildlife. Additionally, native plants have value as medicine and food for people of the borderlands as well as wildlife. We strive to connect borderlands communities to their native plants, inviting them to engage with native species in a unique and meaningful way.
Ethical Seed Collection:
Native plant propagation begins with seed collected from wildlands. Our collection team abides by stringent national standards for ethical collection, promoting minimal-impact harvesting and genetically diverse seed lots.
Organic Nursery Production:
Standard practices in the nursery industry include using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, resulting in root-stressed plants covered in chemical residue that can injure or kill pollinating insects. Rather than focusing on “show-quality” nursery plants, we produce “restoration-quality” plants without any chemical additives.
Locally-sourced compost provides all the natural fertilizer our hearty native plants require, and pest problems are handled organically (come see our integrated pest management in action with resident curved bill thrashers and orb-weaving spiders in our greenhouses). If the insects are not harmful to the plant, they’re left alone - aphids are part of the food web too!