This weekend the Evanston Host Plant Initiative and Natural Habitat Evanston are giving away more than 250 native plants that are known to support the endangered Rusty Patched Bumble Bee and other important pollinators.  The event will take place from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 27 in front of C&W Market & Ice Cream Parlor, Church Street at Dodge Avenue.  

“This will be the first of a series of plant giveaways,” said Libby Shafer, a DePaul University Environmental Sciences Master’s student and creator of the Evanston Host Plant Initiative. “We would like to connect both novice and experienced gardeners with plants to either start a garden or expand their garden.”

Each person or household attending this Sunday’s event can receive three, four, or five pants and a garden trowel to assist with planting.  Some of the plant species are Virginia bluebells, hyssop, milkweed, coneflower, foxglove beardtongue, and mountain mint. Allison Sloan, owner of Shady Grove Wildflower Farm in Evanston and co-founder of Natural Habitat Evanston, will supply the plants. 

Ms. Shafer is co-organizing the give-away with another DePaul Environmental Sciences Master’s student, Gabby Bozeman, who works with Youth Opportunity United and interns with The Talking Farm in Skokie. Y.O.U. is taking care of the plants prior to the event, which is being funded by the Steans Graduate Fellowship, Illinois Native Plant Society, and DePaul’s Graduate Research Fund.

The Evanston Host Plant Initiative is a community science project documenting native wildflowers in Evanston and the bees that visit them. Those wishing to learn more about the project, sign up to participate, and RSVP for this free host plant event may visit their Facebook page.

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