Native Plants

On July 31st, 2022, Columbia Friends Meeting Intergenerational Program will be a presentation by Jim Kessler on Native Plants. Jim Kessler is a member of Grinnell Friends Church (Iowa Yearly Meeting -FUM) and just retired from teaching at Iowa Valley Community College – Grinnell earlier this year.

He taught High School Biology for 36 years, retired, and then taught Environmental Biology at the local Community College for 15 more years.

Photo by David Alberto Carmona Coto on

 He describes his presentation as follows: To do nothing is not an option. Pollinators and songbird populations are declining. Without pollinators, vegetables and fruits, the healthiest third portion of our food supply, would disappear with horrible health outcomes for future generations.

Eventually 80% of the trees and other plants would disappear from our landscapes without insect pollination.

If we really care about our children and grandchildren, we must act. The simple solution is to add native plants to our private and public landscapes. (2) One or 2 dedicated volunteers can maintain a butterfly garden or acre meadow planting. I will emphasize that regardless of age people can either plant natives in their landscapes or spread the word to relatives, friends, and co-workers that we must begin to restore our landscapes by planting natives to help reverse the extinction crisis. Unlike trees and shrubs that store most of their carbon above ground, native wildflowers and grasses store carbon in the soil. A wonderful new conservation strategy called Prairie STRIPS, researched at Iowa State University, involves planting native grasses and wildflowers in contour strips on 10% of a crop field.

It produces dramatic results as compared to a traditional row crop field: 40% less water leaves the field, close to 90% less soil leaves the field, and close to 90% less nitrogen and phosphorus leaves the field. Funding for Prairie STRIPS is included in the latest federal farm program. The lead scientist in this research at ISU recently received a McArthur Genius Award. I will briefly mention Prairie STRIPS in the presentation. This conservation initiative mimics nature processes. It can help to reduce the Dead Zones in the oceans and increase carbon sequestering.

Please join us to learn how we can add native plants to our landscapes to become better stewards of our earth! 

You can attend in person at 120 Pisgah Church Road, Columbia SC or via Zoom @10:45 a.m.