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Goldenrod is one of the top plants that supports butterflies and moths in Lancaster County.

Consider your outdoor space as a place not just for you but for insects and animals. Typical suburban yards grow just a few types of plants that don’t provide food or shelter for wildlife.

Doug Tallamy wants to change this by asking gardeners to add native plants.

The professor of entomology at the University of Delaware has become a leader in the push to garden with purpose, beyond aesthetics and ease. He will give a talk and a three-part class, both virtual, in September for two Lancaster County groups.

Tallamy’s latest book “Nature’s Best Hope” shows how to turn yards into conservation corridors that provide habitat for wildlife.

“To support conservation efforts, you need look no farther than your own backyard… Nature’s Best Hope offers practical tips for creating habitat that protects and nurtures nature,” says National Geographic in a review.

Tallamy was scheduled to talk in Lancaster in March at an event from Lancaster Conservancy and Willow Valley Communities. That talk sold out and then was canceled due to COVID-19. He’ll return to give the same talk Wednesday, Sept. 16, 6-7:30 p.m. The event is now virtual, so there are extra tickets available, says Kelly Snavely, the conservancy’s director of marketing and communications. “Restoring the Little Things That Run the World” will be followed by a question and answer session. Tickets are $15 and can be found online

Tallamy will also teach a three-part webinar on practical tips to bring nature home. With funding from Lancaster County Master Gardeners and The Community Conservation Committee of Lancaster and York Counties, the webinar series is free. The classes start Thursday, Sept. 10, 7 p.m. and continue at the same time Sept. 17 and Sept. 24. Registration is online

 In the meantime, here are the top native plants for Lancaster County, according to the National Wildlife Federation.


  • Goldenrod (solidago), supports 126 butterfly and moth species
  • Strawberry (fragaria), supports 77 butterfly and moth species
  • Sunflower (helianthus), supports 77 butterfly and moth species
  • Joe pye weed (eupatorium), supports 35 butterfly and moth species
  • Violet (viola), supports 32 butterfly and moth species


  1. Oak, supports 519 butterfly and moth species
  2. Chokecherry, supports 435 butterfly and moth species
  3. Willow, supports 386 butterfly and moth species
  4. Birch, supports 381 butterfly and moth species
  5. Aspen, supports 331 butterfly and moth species

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