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Sustainable Idaho: Idaho Native Plants

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This week, we discuss Idaho’s native plants with Paul Allen, President of the Sawabi chapter of the Idaho Native Plants Society, a non-profit focused on engagement and education around native plants.

Allen explains that native plants are the basis of all other biology, and define the landscapes of Idaho. There are many rare specimens in Idaho, which are being challenged by things like climate change, development, diseases, and invasive plants. For people who wish to help with the conservation of Idaho's native plants, Allen recommends reducing soil disturbance and finding an undisturbed piece of land in the community and planting what is found there. Having a native plant community shows what a functioning ecosystem is like, and brings in the other parts of the natural community.

Idaho has an abundance of public land for easy access to native plant life. Allen recommends visiting the Justice Park campgrounds to see a diversity of plant life. To see something unique to Idaho, people can go to the summit of Mount Harrison in Cassia county.

During the winter, the Sawai chapter of the Native Plant Society holds events the first Monday of each month. To find out how to get involved, visit idahonativeplants.org, and follow the links to your local chapter.

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Katie Kelshaw is a graduate of Boise State University with a Masters of Arts in Political Science where she has since taught as an adjunct professor. She is born and raised in Pocatello, where her family are farmers and business owners. Katie is an active member in an advocacy organization called Action Corps Idaho, where she helps run campaigns around Climate Justice and a Global COVID Response.
Ailie Maclean was born and raised in Alaska but moved to Kimberly, Idaho right before high school. Ailie is an undergraduate Political Science and Global Studies major at ISU. She is going into her last year at ISU as Vice President of Idaho State’s student government, ASISU, and has served as an Honors Program Mentor, Communications Envoy, and ASISU Supreme Court Justice in past years. In her free time she enjoys reading, longboarding, hiking, watching anime, and swimming in unique places (Silfra in Iceland for example). Ailie plans on studying environmental, or some variation of international law, after taking a gap year to travel and work abroad.