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Image by Martin Kníže

 Nurture Natives 

 A Youth-Led Environmental Project 

We're Going to Maryland Day!

On April 29, Nurture Natives is heading to the University of Maryland to give away 400 native trees and shrubs! Mark Maryland Day on your calendar today so you can stop by the Nurture Natives tent and secure your free plant!

About Nurture Natives


In March 2022, our team—Esther Bonney, Samantha Rutherford, and Abigail Bonney—was selected to attend the National 4-H Youth Summit on Agriscience. There we developed a project to help solve an agricultural issue in our community: invasive species. Our project, Nurture Natives, is dedicated to increasing biodiversity through the planting of native trees and shrubs and the eradication of invasive plants. In the past year, Nurture Natives has been featured on the National 4-H website, won a Mini Grant, and was selected by the National 4-H Council as one of two projects nationwide to receive a Scale for Success Award. Please support us by reading about our project and joining us at Maryland Day!

The Issue


Through Nurture Natives, our team is helping solve the issue of invasive trees, which are highly aggressive and spread rapidly. They force the displacement of native species and are a major cause of crop loss and food insecurity. In the U.S. alone, invasive species cause $40 billion worth of production losses to crops and forests per year. The trees pictured here are Callery Pear Trees. They’re detrimental to the environment yet have become a new favorite in our area.

Invasive species are a serious concern to our local farmers. There is a large population of farmers and Amish in our area who are dependent on their crops. Invasive trees such as the Tree of Heaven quickly overrun farmlands and attract invasive insects such as the Spotted Lanternfly which feed on crops.


Our Solution

Happy Children

Through Nurture Natives, we:

1) Inspire youth to take action through educational programs.

2) Increase the number of native trees and pollinators within our community by hosting native plant giveaways.

3) Encourage customers to make educated purchases by providing local nurseries with Nurture Natives guides.

Nurture Natives at Maryland Day

Maryland Day

Exciting news! In January 2023, the National 4-H Council selected Nurture Natives as one of two projects nationwide to receive a Scale for Success Grant. With the support of this grant, our team partnered with the University of Maryland as a vendor for Maryland Day 2023. We will have games, crafts, and 400 native trees and shrubs (pictured below) to give away! Mark Maryland Day on your calendar today so you can stop by our tent and secure your free plant! Learn more here.

When: Saturday, April 29, 2023 | 10:00 AM-4:00 PM

Where: The University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742

Native Tree and Shrub Giveaway


With a portion of the Mini Grant, our team purchased 150 native trees and shrubs from Butterfly Alley—a local all-native nursery—and partnered with six organizations to put on the first annual Nurture Natives Giveaway.


Our Nurture Natives Giveaway 2022 was a huge success! Listen as we discuss the origin of Nurture Natives, details of the giveaway, and the importance of native species.

Nurture Natives Guide

Image by UX Indonesia

Our team recently published an original Nurture Natives Guide, a booklet that discusses the harmful effects of invasive species and descriptions of common invasive species and their native look-alikes. Check it out below!


We are currently distributing our Nurture Natives Guides to nurseries throughout Charles County. Nurseries can set these guides out for their customers, who can reference the guide while searching for a tree or shrub. We believe that the invasive species being planted by community members is not due to a lack of enthusiasm but rather a lack of education. We hope our guides result in more educated and positively impactful purchases.

Nuture Natives Guide