Meet the Native Plants Rescue Squad

Melanie StatenOur Town Outdoors

Native Plant Rescue Squad to the rescue! Did you know there is a Native Plant Rescue Squad in East Tennessee? Join us via Zoom at 7 p.m. Thursday, November 9, as co-founder Joy Grisson explains how her organization works with builders, developers and landowners to rescue native plants that would otherwise be destroyed.

The program is free, but registration is required to receive your Zoom link and the recording. Closed captions are available. Register at Please contact Michelle at for any questions or registration issues.

Sponsored by the UT Arboretum Society and the Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning, the program, “The Native Plant Rescue Squad: Conserving Native Plants and Their Habitats,” will explain how land stewardship and conservation of native plants and their habitats are achieved through education and community collaboration. The rescued plants are then made available for educational opportunities or restoration projects with the goal of increasing the overall ecological health of our region.

A non-profit organization, the Native Plant Rescue Squad provides an innovative approach to a growing conservation movement in Tennessee.

“We educate about, advocate for, and conduct the rescue of native plants. The purpose of the rescue program is to relocate native plants that are in the direct path of development. Our work is a collaborative effort undertaken with landowners, developers and many hours of volunteer labor,” said Joy. “Taking an educational approach, I explain to developers and landowners why we would want to dig up ‘a bunch of weeds.’”

Rescued plants are housed at the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum until they are ready for planting at nature centers, parks, schools, public gardens and backyard habitats. Plant rescues involve students from the University of Tennessee, the Birdhouse Community Center, Smoky Mountain Wild Ones, Knox County Stormwater Management and many individuals throughout our community.

Director and co-founder, Joy is a Tennessee native with a background in public health advocacy and community education. She is dedicated to the health of the environment and how human engagement and our connection with wildlife is an integral component of our well-being.

Melanie Staten is a public relations consultant with her husband, Vince.


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