Bookmark this page on your mobile

QR Code image

What is this?

Daily Court Reporter - News Lawmaker seeks designation to celebrate state's flora


Lawmaker seeks designation to celebrate state's flora

KEITH ARNOLD, Daily Reporter Staff Writer

A former Ohio first lady's efforts to grow awareness of the state's rich plant diversity may bear fruit, as a lawmaker champions a bill designating the month of April as Ohio Native Plant Month.

Former first lady Hope Taft pitched the legislation, filed as Senate Bill 45, to Republican Sen. Robert Hackett of London, the lawmaker told his peers on the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

"The purpose of this legislation is to increase public awareness of Ohio's native plants and the many benefits they provide to pollinators, our economy and the health of Ohio's environment," Hackett said. "It is my hope that this legislation will encourage individuals to plant native species, remove non-native invasive plants, tend native gardens and participate in other related educational opportunities.

"Along with encouraging individuals to plant native species, it is hoped that the horticultural industry will observe this month by cultivating, propagating and offering native plants for sale along with promoting public appreciation for Ohio's native flora."

The effort to have legislators endorse a native plant month is an outgrowth of the Heritage Garden at the Ohio Governor's Residence, Taft said. The garden features a large variety of the state's native plants - nearly 600 - about 60 of which are on the state or federal lists as being threatened or endangered.

Per state law, the Heritage Garden grounds are representative of the state's natural ecosystems and the garden is intended to preserve, sustain and encourage the use of native flora throughout the state; to replicate the state's physiographic regions, plant communities and natural landscapes; to serve as an educational garden that demonstrating the artistic, industrial, political, horticultural and geologic history of the state through the use of plants; and to serve as a reservoir of rare species of plants from the physiographic regions of the state.

The proposed legislation is "a realization that more needs to be done to protect what is unique in Ohio's botanical history and landscape so in years to come we can be distinguished from every other state in the nation," Taft said. "As non-native, invasive plants take over our natural areas, this could happen sooner than we expect."

Nathan Johnson, director of Public Lands for the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund, noted in testimony before senators that out of all the state's native plants one stands far above the rest - the American white oak (Quercus alba).

"This is a tree that can live for more than 600 years," Johnson said. "At one time, it dominated the forests of southeast Ohio and much of the Midwest.

"This tree stands tall in our heritage as Ohioans and Americans. Its strong, liquid-tight wood built the naval fleet that helped secure our nation's independence. And, it built the ships that defeated the British at the battle of Put-in-Bay - right here in Ohio."

Aside from the tree's designation as the "tree of life," feeding many wildlife species and hosting more caterpillars than any other tree in America, the wood of the tree is the most important ingredient in bourbon, providing about 60 percent of the spirit's flavor and 100 percent of its color from aging in charred American white oak barrels.

"But, white oak is in serious decline in Ohio," Johnson said. " We have taken it for granted, and now it needs our attention and our stewardship.

"This is a tree that should be better known. And, like so many other native plants, it should more widely enjoy our favor."

He said designating April as Ohio Native Plant Month aids in that effort.

"It is also important that we encourage the use of native plants so the food chain we all depend on for our energy will remain strong and robust," Taft continued. "At its beginning, it depends on native plants that host native wildlife to start the chain reactions that lead to the food on our tables.

She noted the state departments of natural resources and transportation are starting programs to encourage use of native plants because they too realize the need to support our natural species.

"A broad range of state and local organizations have endorsed this proposal," she said. "We don't want the Heritage Garden to be the only place in the future that some of Ohio's natural heritage can be seen."

A dozen fellow lawmakers have signed on as co-sponsors of SB 45, which awaits a third hearing before committee members.

Date Published: April 12, 2019


Copyright © 2019 The Daily Reporter - All Rights Reserved


Fish dealer sentenced for unlawful trafficking in Michigan lake trout

John H. Cross III (Cross) and John Cross Fisheries Inc. (Cross Fisheries) were sentenced recently in Kalamazoo, Michigan, for trafficking in illegally transported and sold lake trout, announced Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and United States Attorney Andrew Birge for the Western District of Michigan. Cross Fisheries was also sentenced for making false records about whitefish purchases.

Rural courts, sheriffs convene with feds to combat opioids

The opioid epidemic has created a crime and treatment crisis for all kinds of American communities. But the ones that may be most affected are small and rural jurisdictions.

New Oh SNAP mobile phone app provides food assistance information

A new Oh SNAP mobile phone application has detailed information about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other food programs, not only for Ohioans receiving benefits but for those who think they may be eligible. It’s available for free on mobile devices through the App Store or Google Play.

BGSU research team sheds light on penguin evolution

Dr. Juan Bouzat, a professor in Bowling Green State University’s Department of Biological Sciences, is part of an international research team studying the evolution of penguins. He is a co-author of a study published in the journal of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution that demonstrates the importance of island formation in the diversification of penguins and posits the discovery of two extinct penguin species from New Zealand. The research, recently highlighted by the New York Times, was conducted by a diverse team of 19 scholars representing eight countries and 16 research institutions and universities.

Former CFO at publicly traded transportation company charged with $245 million securities and accounting fraud scheme

Big Lots launches spring campaign benefiting Nationwide Children's

Columbus-based Big Lots has announced the launch of its spring point-of-sale campaign, "Serve Families. Give Big." to benefit Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Senate bill would add two weeks to save speedy-trial violations

A state senator and attorney by trade hopes to correct what he and state prosecutors believe is the disproportionate penalty that results from violation of Ohio's speedy trial statute.

Ohio's 2019 wild turkey season coming soon

For many hunters, spring brings the unmistakable sound of gobbling wild turkeys as Ohio’s annual hunt of this popular game bird begins, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The state is divided into two zones for the 2019 spring turkey hunting season: a south zone, which opens to hunters on Monday, April 22, and a northeast zone, which opens to hunters on Monday, April 29. Hunters can view the 2019 spring turkey season zone map at

Man indicted for allegedly committing five armed robberies in December 2018

A Cleveland man was indicted for allegedly committing five armed robberies in December 2018.

Three charged with filing $1.9 million in false tax returns

Two defendants plead guilty

2019 Lake Erie fishing outlook is once again great news for anglers

Lake Erie anglers have the chance to experience excellent fishing opportunities on Lake Erie in 2019, according to Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Walleye angler harvest rates set records in 2018, and numerous large hatches point to a bright future for the Walleye Capital of the World.

Jury finds Toledo pastor guilty of sex trafficking of a minor and other crimes

A jury found a Toledo pastor guilty of sex trafficking of a minor and other crimes, U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith said.

Bill would providing privacy shield to mental health workers

A bipartisan effort to expand privacy protections for certain mental health workers cleared the Ohio House of Representatives recently and awaits Senate consideration.

Ohio probate judge publicly reprimanded for presiding over ex-client cases

The Ohio Supreme Court recently publicly reprimanded a Mahoning County probate judge for taking action as a judge on cases in which he previously served as a lawyer. The Court noted there was no evidence that Rusu’s misconduct caused any measurable harm or that it “resulted in anything less than the evenhanded administration of justice.”

New report shows Ohioans pay more taxes than most other states

As the Ohio legislature weighs the pros and cons of Gov. Mike DeWine's proposal to increase the gasoline tax before the end of this month, a recent study found that the state has the ninth-highest tax rates in the nation.

Five men charged in 71-count indictment with defrauding federal programs designed to aid disabled-veterans

Five men were charged in a 71-count indictment with engaging in conspiracies to defraud several federal agencies by paying bribes and fraudulently obtaining at least $15 million in government contracts they were not entitled to though disabled-veteran set asides and other programs.

House mulls fix to antiquated provisions of state's cigarette sales law

The cigarette wholesale business is nothing like it was even two generations ago.

Study finds Ohio is average when it comes to seniors' burden on state economy

When it comes to senior citizens being a drag on a state's economy, Ohio is in the middle of the pack for that group's impact on its economy, according to a recent study.

Arcade games can provide team-building challenges

If you're searching for an exciting way to bring your co-workers together and strengthen camaraderie, one fun option is Dave & Buster's.

Toledo man currently serving time for shooting at police officers now indicted in federal court for his role in a trafficking conspiracy

A Toledo man currently serving 18 years in state prison for shooting at police officers was indicted in federal court for his role in a conspiracy to traffic fentanyl and heroin.