Laurelwood Arboretum Opens New Native Habitat Garden

On a sunny day in May, Wayne Mayor Christopher Vergano cut the ribbon at the entrance to the new Native Habitat Garden at Laurelwood Arboretum.  The garden is designed to benefit the environment and offer learning opportunities for students and other visitors.

“The Native Habitat Garden improves the local ecology by creating a habitat for native insects and birds whose populations are in decline throughout the world,” said Lourdes Osorio, Program Director of Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum and leader of the team that created the garden.  “We are thinking globally while acting locally to improve our ecosystems and educate the public.”  Native plants also contribute to keeping drinking water clean, as they help manage storm water runoff at a time of climate crisis and frequent flooding.

The Native Habitat Garden team planted more than 200 trees, shrubs and perennials in the 20,000-square-foot area, featuring plants that provide nectar and pollen for pollinators, larval host plants for butterflies, and shrubs with berries to feed the birds.  Anyone who is interested in learning more about native plants can volunteer for the team and will work with native plants and learn about their role in the ecosystem.  Contact Carol at for volunteer opportunities.

Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum’s mission is environmental stewardship. The organization hopes  to educate the public about beneficial landscaping choices by featuring a variety of native plants in the arboretum so that visitors can become familiar with them.  It also offers educational programs, such as the Gardening for Nature series, to encourage homeowners to become better stewards of the land.

The Native Habitat Garden was funded by a grant from a horicultural nonprofit and by Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum.  It was created by the arboretum’s staff and volunteers, assisted by students from Wayne Hills High School’s National Honor Society and its Green Club.

From left, Wayne Council President, Jay DeStefano, Leader of the Native Plant Garden Team Lourdes Osorio, Past President Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum Linda Ransom, Wayne Councilwoman Jill Sasso, Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum President, Georgette Moesch, and Wayne Mayor Chris Vergano. Front: Volunteers Laura Pise and Carol Heimbach.
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