The Southern Appalachians, home to Floyd County, Virginia, was identified as one of six biodiversity hotspots in the United States by The Nature Conservancy and NatureServe in their joint publication, Precious Heritage: The Status of Biodiversity in the United States (2000). Virginia as a whole is an unusually biodiverse state.

“Nature is changing, and we can’t hold it steady, so we have to find a way to protect it while it shifts.”

Mark Anderson The Nature Conservancy’s Director of Science, Eastern U.S.

Knowing that Floyd is in part of a critical corridor for wildlife and biodiversity, SustainFloyd is interested in developing ways to protect diversity in our area. Changes in the climate, changes in land use, increases in pollution and waste, and a growing population all present challenges for our local species. Starting with small steps, we seek to find ways to protect nature while it shifts.

This slide presentation gives a quick outline of the issues relating to biodiversity that stand in front of us.

There are many ways that individuals can help here

  • Make Wildlife Welcome
    • Plant trees
    • Choose pollinator plants for the garden
    • Grow mast plants to provide food for local wildlife
    • Provide food and water for wildlife where appropriate
    • Avoid pesticides and herbicides to protect biodiversity in the soil and beyond
  • Make Clean Life Style Choices
    • Choose organically grown local foods, or grow your own
    • Choose non-toxic cleaning and personal care products
    • Reduce, reuse and recycle to reduce environmental pollution
    • Walk, cycle or ride-share to reduce pollution from traffic
    • Be a smart shopper-avoid single use and ‘throw away’ items
  • Share Your Love of Nature
    • Spend time outside looking and learning about local biodiversity
    • Introduce friends and family to places you love in the great outdoors
    • Talk about ways to support our local living world
    • Volunteer and support local environmental groups

Native Plant Lists

The links below provide lists of plants native to Floyd County according to the Atlas of the Virginia Flora, plants which are satisfying to cultivate, and that by being native we hope will strengthen Floyd’s ecosystems. The Bee, Butterfly & Hummingbird list is essentially a list of nectar sources arranged in approximate bloom order. The Keystone Species list focuses on plants that support Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth caterpillars)–a critical link in the food chain for birds and mammals. The Restoration Shrubs and Trees list includes species that combine vigor, often rapid growth and strong contributions to life webs. Many of the plants on both lists have the added value of being beautiful and fragrant.

Wildflower Wednesdays

SustainFloyd is working with the Floyd Native Plant Initiative and other groups in the county to bring more native pollinator plants to the community. this summer there will be a series of plant-giveaway. Seedlings are being grown by a group of volunteers to research which plants can be recommended to gardeners and growers in the Floyd County and to help establish ways to plant more native wildflowers around the county.

In spring 2023 volunteers seeded 40 varieties of wildflowers, native to Floyd County. Some of these are thriving in parts of the county, others are being challenged by encroachment by changes of land use and by invasive species. It is the aim of the project to test the potential of small plantings of these plants by individuals. The hope is that successful plants can become more widely distributed and that information about growing and maintaining these species will be available.

Recipients of the seedlings can help the project by adopting some of these young seedlings, planting and looking after them and letting us know how it goes. The information from your reports and photos will help us build a data base about the potential of expanding planting of native pollinator plants. This is citizen science!

🌼Join Our Research🌼 Adopt Floyd Native Wildflowers! Wednesday at the Floyd Farmers Market pavilion @floydfarmersmarket. Grown by volunteers, we offer these plants freely as a gift to the community. Donations welcome and we hope you’ll share photos of your plants as they grow! SIgn up for our newsletter to get news of the distributions.

We will provide containers for taking plants home, and hope you’ll get them in the ground as soon as possible. Deer protection is highly recommended, as is mulch and protection from grass and weeds, and watering until establishment.

Listing of plants distributed:

Heliopsis helianthoides, Oxeye Sunflower – Showy enough for a traditional ornamental garden.
Helianthus giganteus, Tall Sunflower – Fill up a large sunny space for cheap with this keystone species!List item
Cirsium discolor, Field Thistle – A must for any butterfly garden and not aggressive like the invasive Bull Thistle!List item
Agastache nepetoides, Yellow Giant Hyssop – Excellent for the woodland edge and structure for the back of a gardenList item
Rudbeckia laciniata, Cutleaf Coneflower – Big, showy, long-blooming, excellent cut flower.
Asclepias verticillata, Whorled Milkweed – Excellent for dry sunny banks, fragrant blooms all summer long, delicate grass-like foliageList item
Monarda fistulosa, Wild Bergamot – Monarch and native bee favorite, pretty in mixed plantings.
Asclepias incarnata, Swamp milkweed–lush nectar for butterflies, good for wetlands
Symphyotrichum Novae-angliae, New England Aster–nectar for monarch butterflies, rich fall color
Coreopsis lanceolata, Lanceleaf Coreopsis–showy early summer flower, a butterfly magnet
Agastache nepetoies, Yellow Giant Hyssop–abundant nectar source. Provides winter cover for insects
Cirsium discolor, Field Thistle–reseeding biennial. Supports bees and butterflies
Lobelia siphilitica, Great Purple Lobelia–deep blue flowers in late summer. Hummingbird favorite.
Solidago caesia, Wreath Goldenrod–late season nectar for many pollinators, can take part shade
Solidago speciosa, Showy Goldenrod–tall with bright yellow flowers in fall, keystone support for bees and butterflies
Verbena hastata, Blue Vervain–likes moist areas, purple bloom in late summer
Parthenium integrifolium, Wild Quinine–long blooming medicinal plant with attractive foliage. Self seeds readily.
Solidago rugosa, Wrinkle Leaf Goldenrod–early fall yellow blooms that support bees and butterflies
Tridens flavus, Purple Top Grease Grass–Pretty bunching purple top grass that supports bees and birds

Find more information about these plants here:

Floyd Native Plants Initiative is sponsored by Sustain Floyd, Partnership for Floyd, and Mother’s Child Farm @motherschildfarm, with support from Spikenard Farms Honeybee Sanctuary @spikenardhoneybees, Wood Thrush Natives, and a small group of Floyd community volunteers.

Flower Power

Floyd Flower Power, a committee of Partnership for Floyd is doing some great work bringing more flowers into our area with a series of local plantings. Check out their projects here:

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