Herndon Friends Meeting was looking to make their property a sanctuary for its non-human residents. At the same time, the landscaping at their place of worship needed updating as the foundation shrubs were overgrown and starting to die back from over-trimming. With a dedicated landscaping committee, members of Herndon Friends Meeting quickly learned how to transform their property into a thriving ecosystem for native plants and insects. They found that native plants can solve many problems such as erosion, runoff and maintenance. For a year, their committee worked to educate members of their congregation about native plants, get quotes from landscaping companies and apply for grants. They were able to secure $3,500 in matching grant money and worked with their congregation’s business meeting to secure funding for the rest. In a year, they were able to transform their property into a wildlife habitat and create a public witness to their testimony of environmental stewardship. The new landscaping provides a way to educate all their members as well as their youth in Sunday school. The youth have catalogued a variety of insects, plants and animals on the property, and congregation members volunteer to weed and maintain the plants. Additionally, they upload images to iNaturalist to educate and engage the community. Click here to see different species on their property.
Margaret Fisher, a volunteer at Plant NOVA natives and member of Herndon Friends Meeting, helps to educate congregations about ways to include native plants on their property. Plant NOVA Natives has specific resources for places of worship and has worked with over 40 faith communities. They also have a Facebook Group Sowing Seeds of Stewardship NOVA for congregations to ask questions and share resources.