An Open Letter to First Lady Dr. Jill Biden: Please Grow Native Plants in the White House Gardens

Dear Dr. Biden:

Like many Americans, we were thrilled to watch President Biden’s inauguration last week.  We applaud the President’s recommitment to the Paris Climate accord and his pledge to take immediate actions to address the serious problem of climate change and its effects on the people of our country and the world.

Swallowtail caterpillarWe are writing to suggest that you initiate a project to create a native plant garden at the White House and to expand any native plantings that are there already.  As you probably know, Dr. Doug Tallamy, an entomologist at University of Delaware, encourages gardeners to landscape with native plants because they provide critically needed sources of food and shelter for pollinators, birds and other creatures who live in our communities. Gardening with native plants also tends to save water and can require less maintenance.

We also suggest that you have the English ivy removed and replaced with native species. In our volunteer work planting trees and rehabilitating parks and woodlands in Towson, we have observed how invasive English ivy can take over an established woodland and destroy beautiful mature trees. Because the pandemic has increased the food insecurity in our country, we would also like to suggest that you plant another vegetable garden on the White House grounds.

We wish you the very best in your efforts as First Lady, and in the leadership you can provide in encouraging planting native species, removing invasives, and growing food. We are excited to see the great work this new administration will accomplish.


Dr. Carol Newill, Elizabeth Miller, Raymond Heil,
Roger Gookin, John Alexander, Patty Mochel

The Executive Committee of the Green Towson Alliance

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