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Janice Eaton and ANPP's founding mothers


Yes, it sounds like a great name for a rock band! Janice Eaton was the first president of the Acadiana Native Plant Project. She is responsible for establishing our group as a non profit organization, and securing our greenhouse, now housed in Arnaudville. Janice is a writer and editor who offers corporate and non profit administrative services, now living and working in Asheville North Carolina. We had lunch at Little Big Cup recently and gave her a tour of the greenhouse afterwards. It was great to catch up, and to talk about the days when ANPP was merely an idea. Janice was living in Lafayette area in 2016 when ANPP was conceived. It was in the early spring when friends were driving home from St. Francisville after hearing a talk given by Dr. Doug Tallamy on the importance of planting native plants. Dr. Tallamy, an author and entomology professor at the University of Delaware is a dynamic speaker on habitat decline and how you can help the environment. His message was clear: we (the US, the world) are responsible for the decline in the number of native plant species and therefore the native insect and bird species that require these plants to live. This occurs through habitat destruction, replacing natives with exotic "more desirable" species in our landscapes, and spraying the countryside with pesticides. The solution to this problem is simply to plant more native plants. Avid gardener Sarah Schoeffler suggested to her friends in the car that they should start a native plant group to bring this issue to the public's attention. Heather Warner-Finley, a fisheries biologist recently retired from LDWF and active Master Gardener, agreed. Heather Baldwin, a biologist currently working with prairie plants for USGS echoed her assent, and June Walker, recently retired from 20 years of growing herbs for the wholesale industry volunteered her greenhouse and her expertise in propagating plants. So, Janice Eaton used her experience developing non profit groups from ground level to establish the Acadiana Native Plant Project. The group elected a board and volunteers joined as the word spread. The name "project" instead of society or association was chosen to imply action. This group would actively grow and sell native plants, demonstrate their use and educate and engage the public. Thus, our mission was defined. In 2017, we propagated less than 20 native plant species and sold them at Festival de Fleurs and the Sunset Herb Festival. Today, we grow over 125 species at our greenhouse! Thank you, Janice, for leading us into this worthy endeavor!

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