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Community Spotlight: Northport Native Garden Initiative

People by: Joanne Kountourakis, April 18, 2022

Matt Gorman, Sara Abbass and Nicole Tamaro, founders of the Northport Native Garden Initiative, at Northport Village Hall this past Saturday, April 16.


For a little over a year now, the Northport Native Garden Initiative (NNGI) has been spreading the news about the positive impact that native landscaping practices have on the community’s ecosystem. Conceived in February of 2021, the local nonprofit organization is showing no sign of slowing down; with 400 natives donated, 750 planted, and 8,000 sold, NNGI is growing at an impressive rate.

What they’ve done:
The group’s initial mission was to beautify the corner of Ocean Avenue and Dogwood Road with native plants. In 14 months, NNGI founders Sara Abbass, Matthew Gorman and Nicole Tamaro have spread their wings and become stewards of a more harmonious ecosystem – a vibrant and functional natural world right here in Northport. Together they advocate for programs and plants that clean up the harbor and local waters, engage the community in discussion via social media and in person, host online and community events, and collaborate with other local nonprofits and groups, including a recent partnershipwith the Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program, in which they identified a garden location and helped install plants for the Sea Stars Marine Camp in Fuch’s Pond.

NNGI members show up at Earth Day fairs in the school district, contribute to local kindness initiatives, speak out about the benefits of rain gardens and educate and inspire the community into action.

With a loyal group of community volunteers always ready to lend a hand, NNGI also gained approval for and installed over 150 ferns, perennials, grasses and shrubs on Northport Village Hall property. Together, NNGI and its members – in steps both big and small – are providing more habitats for native plants, helping reduce the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides in the community, and welcoming pollinators like bees, butterflies and birds into neighborhoods and backyards all over Northport.

What they’re doing now:
This past Saturday, April 16, Sara, Matt and Nicole set up in front of Northport Village Hall for an early Earth Day celebration. NNGI gave away 100 plants – plugs of gray goldenrod, smooth blue aster and beardtongue – to 100 residents at the three-hour event, and offered tours of the plants they installed at Village Hall last October.

NNGI is also currently hosting its spring plant sale; check out NorthportNGI.org by May 6 to place your order. Pickup is mid-May in Northport Village. The order form can be found here and a plant list with pictures here.

What’s next?
NNGI recently announced its second annual Clean the Bay Day in partnership with Northport Village and Trustee Dave Weber. The event is scheduled for Saturday, June 11,from 8-10am at both Scudder Park (with Bird Island shifts) and Steers Beach. Tim’s Shipwreck Diner is donating hot breakfast and coffee for the volunteers. For more information, visit the NNGI website’s event page.

Thank you, NNGI, for being part of our community.

The Northport Journal is committed to highlighting individuals and groups making a difference in the Northport and East Northport communities. If you'd like to nominate a person or group for a spotlight, email editor@northportjournal.com.