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Native plants are those that grow naturally in a region in which they evolved. They are the ecological basis upon which life depends. Without them (and the insects that co-evolved with them), local birds and animal life could not survive. 
Unfortunately, most of the landscaping plants available in nurseries today are not indigenous to the land to which the plant is intended to grow. These plants not only sever the food web, but also become invasive pests, out-competing with the native species and unfortunately, degrading habitats.
Homeowners and local policy makers can benefit the native birds and animal life by simply selecting native plants when making their landscaping decisions. The Audubon offers a handy database .... HERE .... to discover what native plants belong in your area and which types of birds they'll attract. Just enter your zip code.
Restoring native plant habitats is vital to preserving biodiversity. Each patch of native habitat becomes a part of a collective effort to nurture and sustain the larger living landscape for birds and animals.
Native plants (and healthy yard and garden practices) save water, energy, time and money, keep local streams and rivers healthy, increase regional biodiversity, and invite native species back home.