In Michigan, the number of native plants being buried under bulldozers is decreasing, thanks to the efforts of the Cranbrook Wildflower Rescue Committee in southern Michigan and the Leland Wildflower Rescue in northern Michigan. The Cranbrook committee has been in operation for over 25 years, the Leland committee for over 15. Both of these groups are formed of dedicated volunteers who have saved thousands of Michigan woodland plants each year, digging up native species before their habitats are razed for development. These folks have learned a lot and offer these tips for people wishing to start similar rescue programs in their areas.
A couple things to do if you’re interested in starting a program, remember that you have to get signed permission from the developers or the property owner to take plants from the property. You should also have a plan for where to plant the rescued plants. They could be transplanted to a community garden, and some end up in private gardens as well. For example, every Memorial Weekend the Leland Wildflower hosts a sale of all of their plants with the proceeds going to the Leelanau Conservancy.
Here’s an interesting article about wildflower rescue in Michigan and elsewhere from USA Weekend.