Green Initiatives in Glen Echo
"Pollinator gardens" are gardens specifically designed to feed and protect pollinators such as bees, birds, and butterflies. Our pollinator garden consists of native trees, shrubs, and perennials is a sixty feet long by six feet wide bed in the right-of-way by the Glen Echo Town Hall parking lot area above the retaining wall.
It has been named the Nancy Long Bird & Butterfly Garden to honor the many years of amazing work that Nancy Long has done for the Town of Glen Echo as well as her commitment to the natural heritage of the area. The goal is to enhance the beauty and environmental benefits of the right-of-way (previously the trolley tracks).
Plants were selected based on their delicious berries and seeds for birds, their attraction as larval host or food plants for butterflies, and pollen rich flowers as well as sources of nectar. Grasses are also planted to provide shelter for wildlife.
For this garden to thrive, no toxic chemicals/poisons will be used and only plants that have not been pretreated with pesticides (such as neonicotinoids) will be purchased. Our goal has been to create a naturalistic garden that is beautiful and will contribute to a healthy community of beneficial insects, birds, and pollinators. The end result will be a beautiful garden that benefits us all. This garden is now a Certified Wildlife Habitat with National Wildlife Federation! A new bird bath has been added as a water feature.
WHY IS COMPOSTING IMPORTANT?
Most of us in Glen Echo have heavy clay soils and compost is the best and healthiest way to improve our soil. Huge amounts of food waste and garden clippings end up going into the trash which goes to land fills. These organic products would be so much more beneficial if we composted them and allowed them to become rich organic matter for the soil. Our gardens, our food, and our farms must have good soil to produce healthy plants. Compost makes this happen and can be spread on our gardens as a mulch. The layer of compost adds essential biology and life to the soil, helping it to become more like a sponge that can absorb water as well as allow water to percolate through the soil, improving the soil’s ability to store carbon.
HOW WILL IT WORK?
Compost Crew will supply each participating household with an airtight bin and compostable bags. Each household only needs to separate out organic waste, just as we already do with our plastics and paper, and leave the composting bin at the curb on the designated pickup day. The waste will be processed at a permitted composting facility in Maryland. As an additional benefit, each household can request to receive finished compost twice per year.
WHAT CAN BE COMPOSTED?
As a rule of thumb, anything that grows or is made from the Earth can go in the bin. This includes meat, dairy, vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds and filters, tea and tea bags, egg shells, breads and other grains, napkins, paper towels, pizza boxes, dryer lint, etc. A comprehensive list is located here: The List.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
Pricing will be tiered depending on the number of participants. Let us know you are interested by signing up at this link. After the sign-up period, we will announce a long-term discounted rate for the group based on the following scale:
15-24 registrations: $25/month - Current Rate Available
25-34 registrations: $22.50/month
Organic Weed Control Program
The pesticide law, which was approved by the County Council in 2015 and upheld by a ruling of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals in May 2019, restricts the use of certain pesticides and herbicides on private lawns, playgrounds, mulched recreation areas and private childcare facilities.
Glen Echo Town stopped using Round Up (Glyphosate) to kill weeds throughout the Town over 4 years ago. Now the Town uses an organic weed control program, using a product known as Avenger, which is considered an organic herbicide. The Environmental Protection Agency states that “d-Limonene is practically non-toxic to birds, fish and mammals and is highly biodegradable.” Avenger Weed Killer is approved by the Organic Materials Research Institute (OMRI). Pets and children can go on the sprayed areas as soon as the spray dries. If the weeds are wet the children or pets could inadvertently transfer the product to desirable foliage.
Stewardship Gardens are a way of gardening that considers the added value of gardens as a part of the surrounding ecosystem and the recognition that healthy gardens contribute to the overall biological diversity of their region. Gardens can have a positive impact when created and maintained with awareness and sensitivity for the short and long-term effects of the plant choices, products used, and surrounding environment. Stewardship gardens are safe, respectful, and sacred spaces for people, plants, and creatures where the health benefits of gardens, gardening, and the natural environment are celebrated.
What are the Benefits of Stewardship Gardening?
Plants produce oxygen and clean the air we breathe, the water we drink, and play a critical role in the food chain. Gardens can act as “thermostats” to cool our homes, cities and towns in a warming world. Sustainable gardens are food and habitat for pollinators, birds and a refuge for native plant species that may be threatened in the wider world. Finally, sustainable gardens are a source of health and wellness for humans; green spaces are a necessity for wellbeing.
How Does It Change the Way We Garden?
Stewardship gardens have less focus on separating from nature and more focus on working with nature. How we design and maintain gardens are an integral part of stewardship gardening. For example, leaving the skeletons of plants in order to produce seed and encourage nesting sites for birdlife, in using fallen leaves as mulch on site, or in keeping all rain water on site are ways in which we can work with nature – often with less effort and expense. Many include elements such as rain gardens, green streets, a focus on more native plants (and no invasive plants), pollinator friendly plants, no toxic chemicals, healthy soils, natural materials, as well as respect for plant communities and natural habitats.
RainScapes, also known as rain gardens, are gardens specifically designed to slow, absorb, and clean rain or stormwater runoff. Considering Glen Echo's location at the bottom of a slope and bordering the Potomac River, it is crucial that our community takes steps to prevent polluted water from reaching our precious local waterways.
RainScapes are designed to maximize their exposure to runoff water, and as the water soaks into the soil, the roots of plants inhabiting the garden slow and clean the water, improving water quality and minimizing the spread of pollution.
To find out how you can incorporate a RainScape into your yard, email the Glen Echo Town Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free 1-hour consultation.
A Glen Echo resident donated time and materials and installed a lovely insect hotel on the Town right of way near the pollinator garden.
An insect hotel, also known as a bug hotel or insect house, is a manmade structure created to provide shelter for insects. They can come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the specific purpose or specific insect it is catered to. Most consist of several different sections that provide insects with nesting facilities – particularly during winter, offering shelter or refuge for many types of insects. Their purposes include hosting pollinators.
Grant from CBT
Great news - thanks to the Herculean efforts of Robin Kogelnik and Beth Boa the Town has been awarded $14,700 from the 2021 Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns Grant Program though the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Our first step is to select an outside consultant to develop a conceptual plan. The work includes using GIS data, Town records, County Storm drain records, and Federal and State databases pertinent to the Town. The consultant will review the known problem areas to understand the current drainage patterns within the Town including direction of flow, intensity of flows, flooding, standing water, and erosion. After analysis, an overall drainage area map and flow computations will be developed for up to 12 locations identified by the Town. The plan will include recommendations for mitigation measures for each area that focus on green street stormwater infrastructure.
We will keep you posted as this process moves forward.
We acknowledge program partners: United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 3, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
Press Release: https://glenecho.org/blog/