By John Bernard
Several endeavors by Arlington Regional Master Naturalist (ARMN) on education of invasive plant species and alternatives converge at Potomac Overlook Regional Park (PORP). One is the ARMN Audubon at Home (AAH) focus summer project which had its kick off meeting on June 24 at ARMN’s native plant garden after “Meet Me On A Sunday” at PORP. The program included AAH ambassadors and potential future ambassadors with a schedule of site visits to ARMN member yards.
Garden creators Joanne Hutton and Kathy Landis gave an overview of the AAH focus project and a tour of the shade garden to show ways to enhance habitat.
For those who have taken the AAH training and want practice and those interested in learning more about the program, there is a scheduled series of site visits on ARMN member’s properties throughout the summer as “on the job training” – this is required for potential future ambassadors. This will be a good opportunity for folks to get more experience and learn from those who are at various stages in the process to transform their own yards into wildlife friendly habitats. The tentative schedule of garden visits during the summer includes gardens from Arlington and McLean but more are welcome. If you are interested in hosting a group to visit and assess ways to increase your property’s potential, please contact Sherrie Burson, email@example.com, with dates and times you are available and your location.
A second endeavor on invasive plant education includes ARMN’s partnership with PORP for a great outreach volunteer opportunity “Meet Me on a Sunday” 1:30 – 3:30 pm. ARMN volunteers set up a table with information on invasive plant species for visitors. We have good references and include an example of an invasive species such as garlic mustard.
The third related project is the demonstration native plant garden that ARMN
volunteers and other partner organizations have created to demonstrate
alternatives that home owners can incorporate into a shady back yard. This garden was dedicated May 6, 2012. It’s a joint effort of several partner organizations, ARMN, the National Audubon Society, and the VA Native Plant Society to promote the use of native plants in homeowners back gardens. The garden is next to the Master Gardeners’ demonstration vegetable garden. Native and exotic plants were
incorporated into the garden design to show that it is possible to include both
into all shady gardens.
As part of the design, several interpretive resources were included to educate visitors. This includes a box with two brochures about the garden for visitors located at the garden entrance. They highlight native species of interest in spring/early summer and in summer/fall. Also there are placard signs in the garden that summarize the native plant of interest corresponding to the brochures.
Among support activities of the garden, ARMN volunteers lead tours for the public. And after a hot day of tending the garden and showing it off, you can relax in the hammock in the garden.
If you’re interested in being trained to walk people through the garden, help garden support projects, or to volunteer with “Meet me on a Sunday, please contact a member of the ARMN team: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. You can also contact PORP naturalists at 703-528-5406 for directions and other information or go to park website @ http://www.nvrpa.org/park/potomac_overlook/content/meetme
Photos by John Bernard.