Audubon Center for Native Plants (ACNP) was dedicated in May 2000, thanks to a grant from Dominion Peoples, a Dominion company. We have expanded our native plant nursery with a new greenhouse and additional education, retail and growing spaces. The ACNP allows us to increase the promotion, protection, and propagation of native plants, and to integrate native plant education into our current programming at ASWP. The ACNP is located at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve at the northern end of the main parking lot.
ACNP is an environmentally sustainable building that features the use of passive solar energy and lighting, locally-grown straw bale insulation, rainwater collection for plant irrigation, and a variety of recycled and reused materials. Work is continuing with plans for increased propagation areas and demonstration gardens.
We're always looking for great volunteers to help us to cultivate our native plants!
Why Garden with Native Plants?
Home gardeners can serve as important links to the increasingly fragmented wild lands that surround us. The compelling beauty of western Pennsylvania's diverse assortment of native plants can educate us as well as enrich our lives and landscapes. Gardening with native plants is one way to do your part in preserving our local environment. When purchasing native plants, always insist on "nursery propagated plants." This ensures that the plants were grown from seed, rather than collected from wild populations.
- Provide years of beauty
- Properly chosen, can flourish on any site
- Attract and nourish native wildlife
- Reduce the need for insecticides and chemical products
- Add grace and informal charm
How Do I Know Which Plants to Use?
Our volunteers and staff are always willing to help you make native plant selections. Stop by the ACNP to browse our selection. You may purchase plants any time the store is open, but ACNP volunteers are usually working at the center on Tuesdays in season if you have specific questions.
If you are in the neighborhood, visit the ACNP and discover:
- Natives for difficult sites and conditions
- Plants for naturalizing and restoration
- Intriguing additions for your borders
- Ways to bring nature to your landscape
Volunteer at the ACNP in the following ways:
- Landscape designing
- Education programs
- Plant propagation
- Seed collection
Want to learn more?
We recommend the following books on native plants. Some speak specifically to use in landscaping; others to general identification. The books listed here are available at the Audubon Nature Store located at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve. They're either in stock or we can order them for you. Many titles are available in the ACNP reference library in the ACNP building.
- Mountains of the Heart: A Natural History of the Appalachians by Scott Weidensaul
- The Native Plant Primer by Carole Ottesen
- Landscaping with Native Trees: The Northeast, Midwest, Midsouth, and Southeast edition by Guy Sternburg and Jim Wilson
- The Plants of Pennsylvania, an Illustrated Manual, by Ann Fowler Rhoads & Timothy A. Block. The definitive botanical guide to PA species, and the most accurate identification of native and non-native species
- Wildflowers of Pennsylvania, by Mary Joy Haywood and Phyllis Testal Monk
- Newcomb's Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb. A thorough field guide with an easy to use key system for identification