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May 2018 Update

Welcome new readers!

In the past month, 60 more people have signed up for our newsletter! So to give you a little background, we send out these emails every month or so to update everyone on the progress of the Plant NOVA Natives campaign and to announce upcoming events and volunteer opportunities. This is an all volunteer effort and dependent on people like yourselves to spread the word. That could involve anything from posting our monthly articles on social media and chatting with your neighbors, to doing presentations at your HOA, club, workplace, or faith community, to working at a booth or garden center, or to becoming an organizer. The members of the Steering Committee are here to support you all as you gradually change the landscaping culture of Northern Virginia.

Newsletter article – Please see the short article at the bottom of this update and send it out via any newsletter or social media you can think of.

Native plant labels in garden centers

Three nursery companies (Greenstreet Gardens, Meadows Farms Nurseries, and Merrifield Garden Center) have kindly agreed to allow our volunteers to put Plant NOVA Natives stickers on their plant signs at a total of 12 garden centers. This will make it immensely easier for shoppers to recognize native plants. We will be needing more volunteers to put on these stickers, so email if you are interested in adopting a nursery. Experience is not needed, although the more familiar you are with Northern Virginia natives, the less time it will take you to do the job. Our thanks to the eight volunteers who have been working on this already!

Sign up to be tapped as a volunteer

Whatever your experience or skills, we need your help! If you tell us which county you live in and a bit about your background, then when opportunities arise, we will know who to contact. You incur no obligation at all by signing up. Please fill out this form to get on our roster. We currently are seeking more help for our website from someone experienced in web design.

Memorial Day weekend “mini tours”

Twenty-three volunteers spent a hot but happy three hours each at a Meadows Farm garden center this weekend telling shoppers about native plants (and one volunteer did it twice – thank you, Valerie!) Our original concept of semi-formal tours quickly morphed into more of a “personal shopper” experience for interested people. As a result of all this work, roughly 300 new people were introduced to the home habitat concept, and many of them bought some native plants right on the spot.

Other events in need of volunteers: Please sign up here.

• 6/10 Faith Alliance for Climate Solution Sustainability Showcase, Arlington.

• Multiple dates: Arlington Art Truck - Explain about native plants while artist Kate Samworth leads people through a quick art project.

• 9/23 Manassas Latino Festival – Spanish-speaking volunteers needed.

Upcoming native plants events

• May 30, 5:30 pm Hometown Habitat showing at Merrifield Garden Center in Gainesville. 6895 Wellington Rd. Manassas, VA 20109. Free, and all participants will receive a free copy of our Native Plants for Northern Virginia guide.

• June 3, 12:30-3 pm – Hometown Habitat film showing and discussion. Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center

• June 10, 1-5 pm – 2018 Sustainable Garden Tour, featuring rain gardens, edible landscaping, native plant landscaping, rain barrels, wildlife sanctuaries, water features, composting, and more. Fairfax-Falls Church-Annandale areas of Fairfax County. (Volunteers are needed to help the hosts. Contact

• September 12, 7:30 pm – Chickadees and native plants. Huntley Meadows.

Six faith communities receive grants for plants

The Audubon at Home (AAH) Program has awarded funds from the Plants for Birds Burke Grant program, which was established with generous support from the Coleman and Susan Burke Center for Native Plants, to six faith communities to create native plants demonstration gardens.

• Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church, Vienna

• Saint Peter's in the Woods Episcopal, Fairfax Station

• Mclean Islamic Center

• Congregation Beth Emeth, Herndon

• Crossroads United Methodist Church, Ashburn

• Grace Presbyterian Church, Springfield

The congregations are installing the gardens as part of an overall educational program.

With or without a grant, Audubon-at-Home loves working with faith communities, which are the ideal place to spread the word.

Volunteer potluck picnic Saturday, August 25 6:30 pm

If you have volunteered or just might like to volunteer, come celebrate the Plant NOVA Natives campaign. We are being hosted by Elisa Meara, who is a professional native plant landscaper, so you know it will be beautiful! She will show us her new rain garden and mini-meadow, and we’ll get to sit around her fire pit as dusk falls. RSVP here.


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