Native Species

common milkweed

Why are Native Species Important?

Native plant and animal species are important for many different reasons. Native plants help with stabilizing soil, purifying air, filtering water and most improtantly supporting native wildlife populations. Native plants also have a signifigant impact on decreasing flooding and droughts as well as mitigating extreme temperatures. Native plant species have developed over hundreds or thousands of years in a particular region or ecosystem. Planting natives helps conserve biodiversity, provides food and shelter specifically for native wildlife.  Once established native plants will thrive in their natural environment and require little to no maintenance. 


Long Island is home to many types of plants and animals all competing for food and space to grow. 

Native Plant Facts
  • Many species of native plants are eidble (ex. Raspberries, Blueberries, and Strawberries) 
  • Most butterflies rely on specific native plant species to lay their young. 
  • Native plants require little to no watering once established in a home garden. 
  • There are many natives that can be planted as ornamental trees (ex. Inkberry, Redbud, and Dogwood)
  • Native plants are better suited to our hot and humid summer weather. 
  • Little to no fertilizer is required for planting natives as they are already adapted to local soil conditions. 
piping plover

Piping plover - Long Islands smallest shorebird that can be found feeding on small crustaceans, insects and other marine invertebrates.

Tips for attracting Native Birds

Click the images below to enlarge

Attracting birds using bird baths
Attracting birds using bird feeders
Attracting birds using nesting sites
Attracting songbirds using winter cover
Attracting Birds using landscape design

How can you help? 

Educate Others

Learn more about the ecological benefits and importance of Native Species, share information with others

Plant Natives

Planting native means less watering, maintenance and it is better for local wildlife


Volunteer with organizations like LIISMA, Save the Great South Bay, The Nature Conservancy, NYS Parks and with the NCSWCD to help your local community

Opossum in tree

Opossum are North Americas only native marsupial, they are rarely seen because they are nocturnal. Far from a nuisance, opossums eat small fruits, snails and insects like ticks. The size of a cat with grey fur, it finds shelter in hollowed out trees. Possums low boy temperature allows them to fight off  disease and survive throughout the winter. 

Close up photo of white oak

White Oak Quercus alba

Acorns are a valuable source of wildlife food. More than 180 different kinds of birds and mammals use oak acorns as food; among them are squirrels, blue jays, crows, red-headed woodpeckers, deer, turkey, quail, mice, chipmunks, ducks, and raccoons. White oak twigs and foliage are browsed by deer especially in clearcuts less than 6 years old. White oak is sometimes planted as an ornamental tree because of its broad round crown, dense foliage, and purplish-red to violet-purple fall coloration.