The Halifax River and West Volusia chapters of the National Audubon Society have teamed up to award wannabe Florida-friendly gardeners with $500 to start a garden as part of a new contest. Volusia County homeowners have until the end of March to tell the Audubon chapters why they want to have a Florida-native garden at their home.
The Plant Real Florida for Birds, Butterflies and You contest aims to help Volusia County homeowners grow native plants that help feed Florida’s native birds and pollinators. Not only do native plants foster bug populations that feed baby birds, but many plants provide berries, nuts, nectar and more to feed birds.
“Florida native plants are beneficial to the ecosystem and kinder to the environment in other ways, too. They’re better for water, wildlife and people,” past president of the Halifax River Audubon Melissa Lammers said.
Florida has lost more than 3 million birds in the past 50 years, Lammers said, primarily due to habitat loss. However, Volusia County homeowners can help reverse this by planting native plants in their yards.
After the contest period is over, a minimum of nine winners will be chosen to receive $500 each to spend on Florida plants. Once the money is awarded, it must be used within three months. The society will take pictures of the gardens’ progress every three months for two years. Pictures may be used in Audubon newsletters, social media posts, presentations and more.
For more information, or to enter the contest, go to www.westvolusiaaudubon.org/P4Bcontest/.