In Our words
During July 15-18 SBP gave away a number of plants including elderberries (Sambucus nigra), jostaberries (Ribes × nidigrolaria), red oak ( Quercus rubra) and rosa glauca (Rosa rubrifolia). Residents in the country will be increasing the biodiversity in their front and back yards through these plants.
Update from the Audubon Naturalist Society: Prior to receipt of the SBP grant, the ANS Discovery Orchard was overgrown and difficult to access due to its steep incline. The new path was completed on September 18, 2021 by digging a more gradually sloping pathway and installing large, flat stones. Amelanchier laevis (serviceberry), Diospyros virginiana (persimmon) and other shrubs and trees were planted on October 14, 2021. The new stone path serves as a much safer trail for visitors, including the onsite nature preschool students and summer campers. The onsite preschool regularly uses this path during visits to the Learning Garden and in returning to their building because they can now avoid walking on or next to the entryway drive.
Outcomes: Summer campers will often use the Discovery Orchard as it is next to the Learning Garden where they take part in growing fruits and vegetables, and the outdoor education area which has picnic tables, a water supply, electricity and cover from the sun and rain. The summer camp is expected to return to near pre-pandemic numbers of over 600 campers in the summer of 2022.
The added and existing vegetation attract pollinators and wildlife to the area, providing a zone where visitors experience wildlife feeding and nesting. The children will also be invited to harvest and taste the fruits, nuts and edible leaves in the Discovery Orchard, and to explore how humans have used plants throughout human history in ethnobotany.
SBP awarded a grant to the Audubon Naturalist Society (oldest conservation organization serving the DC area) to purchase needed equipment for its water quality monitoring teams. According to ANS, the “Water Quality Monitoring Program is one of the largest and longest-running community science programs in the country. It helps fill data gaps in freshwater stream monitoring by government agencies and trains large numbers of volunteers to assess stream health. The goals of the program are to determine the health status of streams in the DC region, to raise the awareness of DC region residents about stream health, and to inform policy-making regarding stream conservation. There are a total of 28 sites in Montgomery County, Maryland and Washington, DC. Each team visits their site during April, July, October and, optionally, during the winter. The monitoring results are used by decision makers to formulate policies to protect streams.” The grant will enable ANS to purchase D-nets, Field microscopes, Armored thermometers, Forceps, Hand lenses, and other equipment.
November update from DC Natives: We are pleased to let you know that we completed 6 of the remaining 7 SBP gardens. this fall, as follows:
10/16/2021 Eastland Gardens 4xxx, Meade Street NE
10/16/2021 Eastland Gardens, 4xxx Marne Place NE
10/16/2021 River Terrace 3xx, 35th Street NE
10/16/2021 Benning Ridge 8xx, Hilltop Terrace SE
10/16/2021 Lincoln Heights 1xx, 57th St. SE
10/16/2021 Lincoln Heights 47xxx, Clay Street NE
We will complete the remaining 1 SBP garden in Spring 2022. THANK YOU for your support. Because of the SBP seed money, we now have seven active Block Captains in 6 neighborhoods in DC and are doing a training for four more next week, in 4 new neighborhoods. Onward!
“Native Plants Giveaway”: On Nov 13, SBP participated in the annual native plant Seed Exchange hosted by the Greater DuPage Wild Ones, a native plant society, in Aurora, IL. In these events, members in the community harvest, package, and share seeds of native Woodland, Prairie, Wetland, and Savanna plants for a nominal fee. This year, SBP contributed well-rooted native plants of elderberry & buttonbush, rhizome clumps of Virgina iris, & red oak seedlings which added to the over 50 species of seeds available at the event. SBP also donated gardening books for the event’s garden-related mini Garage Sale, proceeds from which will support future events of the Wild Ones.
We have been attending the Wild Ones seed swaps for several years and they are the source of the SSRajan_SustainableMicrofarm_WildlifeHabitats. Our native gardens have also been featured in the local rag – HV_Newsletter_June_2015
SBP donated numerous native plants during three “Native Plants Giveaway” events in Spring (June 20 – 26), Summer (August 14 –20), and Autumn (September 25 -October 3) in the western suburbs of Chicago.
Many local gardeners picked up lowland/moist area shrubs like Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), Silky dogwood (Cornus amomum) and Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), wetland/emergent plants like narrow-leaved cattails (Typha angustifolia), Virgina iris (Iris virginica), and blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium); upland shrubs like gooseberry (Ribes sp.), ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius), and snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus); woodland ephemerals like Jack in the Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), and bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis). Non-native plants fruit plants like red currants (Ribes rubrum), dragon fruit cacti (Selenicereus sp. & Hylocereus sp.), indoor herb plants (Shiso (Perilla frutescens), Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus), Indian curry leaf (Murraya koenigii), horehound (Marrubium vulgare)), and lavender (Lavandula sp.) also proved to be very popular.
The goal of these events is to encourage gardeners to create native wildlife-friendly gardens especially for birds and insects by planting native perennials and mixed hedgerows of native shrubs. Replacing lawn grass with diverse native vegetation also reduces precipitation runoff while improving the landscape and providing enjoyment and food for humans. Based on the popularity of these events, SBP plans to make this a seasonal event in future, donating locally native plants propagated from stem cuttings, rhizomes, and seeds. SBP also thanks the gardeners who donated to SBP to further its work on Biodiversity Preservation
SBP gives a grant to MERAKOM tierra, an organization based in La Paz, towards the protection of cultivation fields in coffee production in Bolivia. In May 2021 SBP gave a grant to MERAKOM tierra, an organization based in La Paz, towards the protection of cultivation fields in coffee production in Bolivia. Poor management of coffee pulp (or Sultana) that comes from the coffee production fields leads to contamination of the fields when the Sultana decomposes, affecting the ecosystems of this area. Currently, the municipality of Caranavi in La Paz is the main coffee producer in the country. More than 90 percent is produced in the department of La Paz and a small amount in the tropics of Cochabamba. The SBP grant funds the following activities:
- Collection of Sultana in Caranavi and other areas of Los Yungas: A cargo truck will be rented to pick up the sultana of each producer around Caranavi, perhaps up to 20 km away.
- Preparation of sultana flour for edible products and use of sultana for cosmetic products (exfoliator).
- Marketing the products and searching for strategic alliances
This project is expected to lead to more sustainable coffee production in Bolivia while finding practical applications for the coffee pulp waste.
In Spring 2021, SBP awarded a grant to the Audubon Naturalist Society to improve the biodiversity of its Woodend Nature Sanctuary and to make it more accessible to visitors. The Sanctuary features a Discovery Orchard (with pawpaw, witch hazel, cherry, hazelnut, chokeberry, serviceberry, currants, gooseberries, raspberries, blackberries and a strawberry patch), an organic vegetable garden, a pollinator garden of native species, and a suite of stormwater management demonstration projects such as rain gardens and conservation landscapes. ANS hosts public tours of the Sanctuary to educate people on native flora and fauna, about harvesting rainwater, and in stormwater reduction practices. But being on a steep slope, the Discovery Orchard poses a challenge to the visitors to access and explore it safely. ANS will use SBP funds to:
- make the Orchard hardscape safer and more stable with new paths and perimeter reinforcement,
- remove invasive species such as the lesser celandine,
- plant native trees and shrubs, (such as viburnums, persimmon, spice bush),
- add more species to the pollinator garden, and
- introduce new educational programs in the stabilized orchard (e.g. demonstrate Native American traditional plant uses).
Autumn update: The stepping stones were installed in the Discovery Orchard in mid-September and plants are being purchased now by our Garden Outreach Associate. We’re very excited about this project and its resulting improvements to the native plants orchard!
Summer 2021 update from the Audubon Naturalist Society on the Spring 2020 SBP grant to support its Creek Critters® citizen science app. With SBP support, ANS expanded the reach of its Creek Critters® app to educate and engage nearly 5,400 people and communities in 2020, despite the ongoing pandemic. ANS used SBP grant funds to purchase and upgrade its demonstration tech equipment (Android tablet, Android cellphones, iPad) to test the performance of a major revision of the Creek Critters® app released in 2020 on multiple operating systems. The new version of the app includes user-friendly features in the collection and identification of aquatic macroinvertebrates (such as improved visual identification keys, new/enhanced photos of macroinvertebrates, and added functionality for choosing between order-level and family-level identification of caddisflies, mayflies, dragonflies and damselflies) and also the generation of stream health reports based on the findings. The data generated from using the app is now integrated into the Izaak Walton League’s Clean Water Hub for a greater outreach. App users beyond the DC region can now visualize the data on a map and find stream reports posted by others. SBP looks forward to hosting and participating in Creek Critters® app events in the coming months to educate and engage local university students.
2020In Summer 2020, SBP awarded DC Natives a grant to install pollinator habitats in Southeast DC. Their “Block-By-Block” program aims to increase biodiversity across the District through low maintenance and drought resistant gardens of different sizes scattered throughout the District. Weaving these microhabitats into a natural corridor will help in the survival of pollinator species even as open green spaces in DC’s urban built environment rapidly diminish. The program will also provide environmental education to participants from different neighborhoods and backgrounds, promote a deeper understanding of the importance of pollinators, grow local knowledge and commitment to broaden these habitats and foster community spirit. This grant will help DC Natives provide guidance, site preparation, planting materials and environmental education to participants. Block Captains will be responsible for planting, watering, maintenance, and general oversight of the gardens. 2020 Fall update from DC Natives: During September-October 2020 we planted the first round of gardens in Ward 7, Northeast Washington, DC. We completely planted five gardens and prepped two. During the spring 2021 season, we plan on planting gardens at six more sites and also complete planting in the two gardens we didn’t finish earlier. We planted milkweed (Asclepias sp.) in every garden. We also included blazing star (Liatris sp.), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia sp.), evening primrose (Oenothera sp.), tickseed (Coreopsis sp.), Beardtongue (Penstemon sp.), moss phlox, etc. Luckily the pollinators seem to find whatever we can plant! We had great community support and productive days of gardening this Fall and have some people already signed up for the spring season. Even with Covid-related constraints, DC Natives was able to plant 16 of the 22 pollinator gardens funded under the SBP grant. We look forward to seeing them in bloom next summer.
In Spring 2020, SBP awarded a grant to the Audubon Naturalist Society (oldest conservation organization serving the DC area) to promote its app called “Creek Critters” which enables citizen scientists to monitor the health of their local streams. The free user-friendly app walks the users through the finding and identifying of freshwater benthic macroinvertebrates that serve as indicators of stream health, and then generates stream health reports based on their findings. SBP grant will help ANS conduct community engagement events to teach citizens about conducting biological surveys, to train them in the use of the Creek Critters app, and to recruit volunteers for other community science programs. Data collected on stream health will be displayed on ANS website as well as on Izaak Walton League of America’s Clean Water Hub.
SBP has been active in Spring 2019, partnering with public schools in the DC area to promote biodiversity projects on school grounds. SBP funded two birdfeeder projects – one at KIPP KEY Academy in Southeast DC and another at Benjamin Banneker High School in Northwest DC. The feeding stations which include a variety of feeders and bird feed, and birdbaths are designed to attract and nourish multiple species of birds, particularly during the spring and fall migration. Since these phenological events occur during the academic calendar when schools are in session, students would be available to participate in the project, learn, and enjoy watching birds as they head North/South along the Atlantic Flyway.
The installations in both schools have already started attracting birds! The ultimate goal is for students to participate in citizen science projects such as Cornell University’s Project Feederwatch where they observe the birds, collect and contribute data to scientific research, and thus influence policymaking.
SBP also funded remote wifi-enabled outdoor weather stations installed outside the classrooms so that students can learn about real-time ambient weather (air temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity, wind speed and direction, precipitation amount) right at their desks.
KIPP KEY Academy, SE Washington, DC
Additionally, we are also helping Benjamin Banneker High School install a Native Plant Garden in the school courtyard. This raised bed garden now boasts multiple forbs, grasses, native trees and shrubs which in time will provide plums, elderberries, chokeberries, pawpaw fruits, and hazelnuts for all species to enjoy.
Benjamin Banneker High School, NW Washington, DC:
Back to the top 2018 The very first project that we funded is well underway! Saint Peter’s University in NJ was awarded a grant in the summer of 2018 to restore a natural habitat and promote biodiversity by creating a “Native Plant Garden for Birds and Pollinators” on campus grounds. SBP will continue to provide assistance for this project as well as for the University’s ongoing Citizen Science projects. Saint Peter’s University – Restoration of Habitat
If your organization is interested in participating in SBP-sponsored biodiversity projects, apply for an SBP grant here: https://preservebio.org/