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NOVA Natives Champions

Nominate a champion! NOVA Native Champion awards are presented to institutions whose landscaping incorporate beautiful Northern Virginia native plants to support wildlife and to inspire other people to do the same.

Award presented to Scott Plein by Nancy Vehrs on 10/03/17

Scott Plein of Equinox Investments, LLC

Scott Plein, a Principal of Equinox Investments and a co-owner of White House Natives in Luray, developed the Villages of Piedmont at Leopold’s Preserve in Haymarket with a goal of preserving forest and open space. As a proponent of conservation development, Scott aimed to develop and manage land in harmony with nature by preserving natural open space, historic and cultural features, and beautiful views. In doing so, this development helps forge connections between its residents and the natural and built environments. The community ecology also has benefited through the integration of native plants into the landscape. More than 35 interpretive signs enhance the visitor experience and educate the public on topics such as native plants, pollinators, and deer management. Through his ownership of White House Natives, Scott is committed to growing and selling only plant materials native to the Commonwealth of Virginia. His nursery hosts more than 12,000 native trees and shrubs on its 25-acre site, representing 96 different species. 

Award presented to NVAR by Nancy Vehrs on  12/1/16

Northern Virginia Association of Realtors​ (NVAR)

NVAR has demonstrated its willingness to educate homeowners on the benefits of ecologically sustainable practices, including the use of native plants. NVAR designed its building with green space created using native plantings where visitors can learn firsthand about green building techniques. The plantings are drought resistant and, as a result, the building does not need an irrigation system and uses minimal water for landscaping. In addition, NVAR’s store stocks copies of the Native Plants for Northern Virginia publication in their store to provide to new homeowners. 

05/21/16 - Award presented to Ken Biglee by Corey Miles 

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

Plant NOVA Natives was on location at the BioBlitz event sponsored by the National Park Service to award the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts with our first-ever NOVA Natives Champion Award. Wolf Trap is the only national park dedicated to presenting the performing arts. Ken Biglee accepted the award on behalf of Wolf Trap. See the wonderful native gardens they've planted onsite and don't forget to take advantage of the Wolf Trap TRACK Trail to get up close with nature!

Gardens onsite at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.

Award presented on 1/30/16

Prince William Conservation Alliance (PWCA) & Executive Director Kim Hosen

PWCA and its Executive Director Kim Hosen have consistently demonstrated a commitment to conservation landscaping. The backyard of the Merrimac Farm’s Stone House Visitor Center was transformed into a diverse habitat using native plants. This garden’s four-season greenscape creates a high quality natural area demonstrating how anyone’s yard can be transformed from sterile to fruitful land, where adults and children alike can delight in nature. PWCA also coordinated planting over 200 native herbaceous perennials, shrubs, and trees on a slope outside the fence of the K9 Gunner Memorial Dog Park in the Lake Ridge community. This attractive planting protects water quality by slowing the flow of stormwater runoff and nonpoint source pollution and serves as habitat and food for pollinators, butterflies, and birds. 

Gardens behind Merricmac Farm's Stone House Visitor Center

Nancy Berlin - PNN Champion.jpg

Award presented on 2/10/2024

Virginia Cooperative Extension Agent Nancy Berlin

Retiring in 2023, Nancy Berlin worked for the Prince William County Office of Virginia Cooperative Extension since 2007 and prior to that was a volunteer. She is knowledgeable in many areas, including plants and plant processes, sustainable landscape management, volunteer administration, event management, program planning and evaluation, wildlife, turfgrass and weed management, natives, entomology, pathology, and plant problem diagnosis. She was instrumental in adding a native plant focus to the program.   

 

Nancy shared her knowledge, inspiring over 200 trained Extension Master Gardener volunteers offering research-based education and outreach programs that benefit local water quality, the environment, and the Prince William community. She regularly received requests for speakers, event support, technical assistance, and plant and pest identification and diagnosis. She either met those requests herself, or, in true Extension tradition, used her keen skill in identifying the right volunteer to accomplish the request.

 

Nancy led efforts to provide Master Gardener Mentors for more than 70 school and community garden requests over the past 10 years.  Recently she also supported efforts for City of Manassas Liberia House Historic Site landscape planning and replanting, and she designed and helped to plant a healing garden for the local hospital.  In 2013 she started the Audubon@Home Program for Prince William County with Master Gardener volunteers.

 

Recently Nancy was recognized as an “Influential Woman” by Prince William Living magazine for inspiring the best in others and making the community a better place.  Her kind, thoughtful, creative, and enthusiastic ways inspire so many to do good work for the community.  

 

In retirement, Nancy continues to share her knowledge and works as a landscape consultant. We are proud to recognize Nancy Berlin as a Plant NOVA Natives Champion.

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