So here’s the challenge: How can you build statewide awareness and appreciation for California native plants … during the holidays … in the middle of a pandemic … when everyone is supposed to stay home?

Create a free-to-enter wreath-making contest, of course, with celebrity judges, prizes and the requirement that at least 51% of the materials be cultivated, ethically harvested California native plants.

Translation: Don’t go running into the wild (or your neighbor’s yard) and start pulling up native plants by the roots, said David Bryant, campaigns and engagement manager for the California Native Plant Society and creator of the new Wreath Masters contest. If wreaths are made from materials foraged from the wild, they will be disqualified.

Wreath by Ann Elliott of the California Native Plant Society’s Marin Chapter.

(California Native Plant Society)

“They’ve got to be ethically sourced,” he said. “That’s why we said only 51%, because we don’t want to overtax their supply. They can use other plants for filler.”

The native plant society encourages people to create habitat in their yards by growing California native plants, so it’s important to the contest that materials come from cultivated plants, grown in yards as landscaping. Local chapters of the society can help you find materials if you don’t have any nearby, Bryant said.

This contest is perfect for COVID times, since all you need to do is collect branches, cones, berries, grasses and other materials from your yard or your neighbor’s (with permission, natch), construct your wreath and then send a photo of your creation by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 13.

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