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December 2018 Update

Updated: Dec 16, 2018

*** Note about the new format for our update***

We have switched over to our Wix website software to distribute these updates. That clever programming will take you off the distribution list if it thinks you are not reading them. So if you are in the habit of reading emails on a viewing pane without opening them, please click on the message so you don’t find yourself kicked off.

If it seems hard to read in your email, please click to open it on a web page.

As always, we have a short article for you to share. Please see it below and send it out via any newsletter or social media you can think of. Feel free to adapt it for your own group.

Coming soon: Third annual “Grand Partnership” meeting -

Probably February 26 in the morning – we’ll announce it as soon as the room reservation is confirmed. All are welcome, especially representatives from any local organizations that are interested in participating in the home habitat movement.

2018 Accomplishments – thank you, everybody!!!

This year, you guys

· Sold over 1000 copies of Native Plants for Northern Virginia

· Put up a display for a month in the exhibit case in each of 14 libraries

· Migrated to a new web provider, greatly improving the website

· Added 380 individuals to our mailing list for these updates, bringing the total to 840 (not including the many hundreds who receive it via various listservs)

· Posted articles on seven Patch sites

· Posted articles on NextDoor in 40 neighborhoods, making them available to be read by well over 200,000 people each time.

· Put a couple thousand “NoVA Native” and “Virginia Natives” stickers on plants at twelve garden centers

· Created 5 videos for YouTube and several others for Facebook, garnering over 41 thousand views

· Ran three Facebook ads which were responsible for 16 thousand of those views

· Participated in over 35 public events by staffing a table or giving a talk

· Partnered with Audubon-at-Home to give grants for plants to six faith communities

· Held a Partners’ meeting attended by 35 representatives from 34 organizations

· Were honored by the Fairfax County Tree Commission with a Friends of Trees award.

This list doesn’t even include the innumerable outreach activities undertaken by the scores of partnering

organizations and many other individuals. I think we are safe in calling 2018 a good year for the native plant movement in Northern Virginia!

Take a short survey – help us gauge our progress in actually getting plants into the ground. If you are curious, you can see the survey results when you get to the end by clicking on “See previous responses.”

Send us your HOA and condo association success stories. We will shortly put up a section on our website for homeowners’ and condo associations, which will include examples. Please email to tell us what you have accomplished.

Send us examples of good landscaping with native plants that other people could go visit. Commercial properties, public buildings, parking lots, parks, faith communities – anywhere where the public could stop by and take a look. We will list them on our website - see the preliminary list here. This is in addition to the demonstration gardens which are already on our website. There are photos of many of these sites in this folder.

Want to help with this project? We need one or more volunteer to organize this web page, for instance by adding addresses and photos. Email if you have a little time for this.

Looking for a volunteer project? We have many for you. Some are big, some are small. Check out our “job jar.”

We can do some outreach for free. We can do much more if we have some money! Please help if you can by donating to the Plant NOVA Natives Fund.

City Nature Challenge 2019 - Volunteers are needed to host events in their communities (parks, HOAs, faith communities, school properties, etc) any time on April 26-29 to take photos of all living things present and document them on iNaturalist. This is a great opportunity to inspire people to take action on their own properties to protect the local wildlife that they observe. Learn more here.

Master Naturalist Spring Training Applications are open for Arlington Regional Master Naturalists. Watch the websites for announcements for the Fairfax, Prince William, and Loudoun chapters. Master Naturalists are critical partners of the Plant NOVA Natives campaign.

Next Steering Committee meeting – All are welcome! The date will be posted soon on our Event Calendar.

This month’s newsletter article – Please reprint or link to this article on our blog, which includes previous articles in this series. (For posting on NextDoor, use this URl instead.)

More on Getting Paid to Mow Less

Does your yard mainly function as an unused space between your front door and your parked car? Imagine lingering in that space as butterflies flutter about and frogs and birds serenade you. By simply reducing the area devoted to turf grass (which is from Europe) and adding native plants, you can be greeted by a cornucopia of life as you step out of your house.

The options for reducing lawn can be as simple as plunking a native tree in the middle of your yard to as elaborate as hiring a native plant landscaper to remove all the grass and replace it entirely with Virginia natives. Do you enjoy planting things yourself but have limited time? Start by putting shrubs or other plants in the spots that are hard to mow anyway, such as on slopes or against walls. The “Reducing Lawn” page of the Plant NOVA Natives website has many suggestions and details.

Lawns have their uses for humans, but they do very little for the non-human residents of our properties. What those residents need is a variety of the plants with which they evolved, not a two or three inch, chemical-laden monoculture of a non-native plant with shallow roots over compacted soil.

Not only do native plants support butterflies and the rest of our ecosystem, but their deeper roots create channels in the soil that absorb stormwater much better than lawn. Capturing stormwater is so important to our waterways that the Commonwealth of Virginia and local jurisdictions periodically offer matching grants to a few lucky property-owners who put in conservation landscaping. You can read about it in the original “Get Paid to Mow Less” article. One such grant went to an Oakton resident, whose yard transformation was so gratifying that she made a two minute video about it. You can view it here.

Plant NOVA Natives is a joint marketing campaign of over forty private, public, and non-profit organizations and hundreds of individuals. Our mission is to educate the community and to promote the benefits to water quality and natural habitat of planting beautiful Northern Virginia natives, through the efforts of committed volunteers using multimedia outreach and events, and by working with local growers and sellers of native plants. All are welcome to participate in this collective action movement.

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