Native Plant Day in New Mexico

We hope you enjoyed Native Plant Day this year. Did you spend some time in nature, plant a native plant, press a specimen, or show friends your garden?

We thank Carol Johnson, Santa Fe member of NPSNM, for prompting Governor Michele Lujan-Grisham to proclaim August 20 as Native Plant Day, acknowledging the importance of native plants in our state. Here is a little history of the proclamation.

The 2022 Proclamation


How it Began

The 2022 proclamation is to the left and you can view the original, historic proclamation below. Chick Keller was president of NPSNM in 2006, and he recalls, "the Board decided we needed some statewide recognition. So we settled on getting a proclamation about native plants. I approached our local state representative Jeanette Wallace who got it introduced in the House and Dede Feldman introduced it in the State Senate. It passed easily and governor Bill Richardson signed it. Then somebody had the idea of getting Dewitt Ivey recognized as a state resource. Several of us were invited to meet with Richardson when he presented the proclamation to Dewitt. Richardson told us he admired what we did saving native plants while all he got to do was talk to people who wanted money!"

Continued, below left...

Carol Johnson was in the Santa Fe chapter in the early days of the proclamation and has been our wonderful liaison with the executive office for many years since. She adds to the story of the proclamation: "It was first introduced as a Memorial during the legislative session.  That worked for a few years, but took up too much time and effort. Rep. Wallace became very ill, also.  So, it was decided to ask the governor for a Proclamation directly. That has worked ever since." And we are very grateful to Carol for seeing to that!

A few questions remain. When and how did the changes in wording come about? Both versions are thought provoking. We hear that former state botanist Bob Sivinski played a role. Why was September 23 the original Native Plant Day, and why has it been each third Saturday of August in recent years?

Original, 2006 Proclamation