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Keep growing: Third year strong at NNGI spring plant sale

People by: Chrissy Ruggeri, May 9, 2023

NNGI founders and board members: Matt Gorman, Eileen Gorman, Nicole Tamaro, Barbara Bolen, Sara Abbass and Jen Makaw.

The Northport Native Garden Initiative (NNGI) held its third annual spring sale this past weekend and it was a resounding success. “It was so heartwarming to see so many people come together for this crucial and worthy cause. The positive energy of all involved was infectious,” said NNGI board member Barbara Bolen.

The spring sale is NNGI’s biggest fundraiser of the year, supporting the nonprofit organization's efforts to provide individuals, organizations and municipalities with the knowledge, resources, support and tools to contribute to the health of our environment. People came to the spring sale from all corners of Long Island, Bolen said, helping to ensure that pollinators have a vast area to find habitats where they can thrive.

This year, 2,200 native plants were purchased and distributed. Thirty volunteers lent a hand during the sale to unload, organize and transport plants to vehicles. Additionally, NNGI distributed 700 native plant plugs at the Northport High School STEM Fair, Northport Village Hall during Earth Day, and The Little Schoolhouse. The plugs are also used for classroom lessons, teacher appreciation gifts, and as gifts to volunteers.

Native plants purchased at the spring sale will also be used in five public installation projects, including at the Northport Public Library, Harborfields Public Library, North Shore Land Alliance, and the Robert Kubecka Memorial Organic Garden. After picking up their order this past Saturday, members of Girl Scout Troop #3090 planted 40 native plants at the Dix Hills Fire Department’s 9/11 Memorial (make sure to look for the purple coneflowers and coreopsis blooms there this summer).

“This sale is not only a great way to get native plants into the community, in Northport and beyond, but it also strengthens our ecosystem,” said NNGI founder Nicole Tamaro. “It’s also so great to see how excited people are to get these plants and pollinators in their yard. There were so many people this year that had never bought natives before. You can really feel the movement – people are thinking about what plants they’re putting in their yards and what they are doing for the environment.”

At the sale pickup site, the daughters of NNGI founders spearheaded another very special effort: Clara Abbass, Bridget Gorman, Maeve Tamaro and Rose Tamaro set up a bake sale to raise money for the Defeat DIPG organization in memory of Callie Montera, who lost her life to brain cancer in 2020. The girls raised $600, which Bridget was able to present to Callie’s parents at the Pulaski Kindness Walk on Sunday.

NNGI sold and distributed 2,200 native plants during their annual spring sale, contributing to five local garden installments including those at the Northport Public Library and Dix Hills Fire Department.

Maeve Tamaro, Rose Tamaro and Bridget Gorman raised funds for Pulaski School’s Day of Kindness in honor of Callie Montera, who lost her life to cancer in 2020.