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October 2017 Update

Updated: Apr 24, 2018

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

$$$ Big money is available for you to replace lawn with native plants! The Conservation Assistance Program (CAP) can provide technical assistance and cost-share funds for storm water projects on private or common land. Click here for details. Must use Virginia native plants, of course!

October 14 Fairfax City Fall Festival – volunteers needed for a booth. 10 am - 5 pm. Tell everyone why native plants are so great. Please let us know if you can be there for any part of the time.

Volunteers needed for Fairfax Invasive Management Areas (and for programs in every jurisdiction) – both for occasional grunt work and to be regular site leaders. For a list of invasive plant removal programs, click here.

Lots of other stuff going on – Volunteers with the Plant NOVA Natives partnership continue to spread the word via a myriad of channels. Feedback has been encouraging. There is a place for everyone in this campaign, so let us know if you want to help!

· Paid Facebook ads – A little money goes a long way. Can you donate some to increase our reach?

· Monthly Steering Committee meetings and periodic teleconferences. All are welcome! Times are on our calendar.

· Hometown Habitat showings – can you arrange one?

· Educational events for adults – see our calendar.

· Outreach to children – there are many ways to get involved.

· Faith community outreach – can you help make the contacts?

· New Spanish web page. We are planning Spanish Facebook ads.

· Many garden clubs are focusing on native plants this year.

· Professional landscapers and garden centers are learning more about native plants.

Audubon-at-Home Ambassadors needed. Training session November 3 (exact time and location to be announced). Audubon-at-Home Ambassadors visit properties at the request of homeowners to provide advice on planting natives, removing invasives, and other wildlife habitat improvements. In the training session, you will learn about the program, the role of Ambassador, and resources that will help you research and advise clients on native plants and other habitat improvements. Matt Bright of Earth Sangha will give “Practical advice on how to help clients achieve AAH goals of creating habitat,” and Charles Smith of Fairfax County Stormwater Planning Division will talk about “A deeper dive: Moving from gardening to restoration.” You’ll have the chance for informal Q&A with several Ambassadors, both experienced and novice. Please email to indicate your interest in attending the session. Volunteers should have a working knowledge of the principles of environmentalism and of home habitat, and some familiarity with common native and invasive plants in a landscaping setting. Whether or not you want to sign up as an Ambassador, you might want to attend to learn more about the Audubon at Home/Wildlife Sanctuary program.

This month’s newsletter article – Please reprint these articles on social media and in any newsletter you can – work, faith community, HOA, club, PTA, etc. If everyone posts on their local, we will have all of Northern Virginia covered. Or link to them on our blog, which includes previous articles in this series.

Get paid to mow less!

How would you like to be paid to improve the landscaping on your own property? The Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP) - available for both private and community properties – does just that.

Although lawns may look natural, in fact they cause trouble for the environment. The streams of Northern Virginia, and ultimately our drinking water and the Chesapeake Bay, have been seriously degraded by storm water rushing off of impervious surfaces. Buildings, roads, and parking lots are the first problem, but lawns are not much better at slowing down the flow of water. This concern is so great that the state of Virginia offers 75% matching grants for a variety of storm water retention projects, including simply replacing lawn with conservation landscaping using native plants. Since turf grasses are non-native plants that provide no sustenance to wildlife, replacing some of it with native plants has the additional benefit of turning our properties into wildlife sanctuaries.

There is no telling how long these grants will last, and the process takes several months, so it would be wise to look into it soon for a spring planting. Click here for details and for practical advice about working with native plants. The results can be spectacular. Herndon Friends Meeting just installed conservation landscaping, partly thanks to a $3500 grant. There is still enough lawn for the kids to run around, but soon they will be joined by butterflies and birds enjoying the habitat as well.


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