Riderwood Residents Will Support Two Local Schools at Their Wednesday, May, 2, Earth Day Celebration

SILVER SPRING, MD (April 24, 2012) - Riderwood retirement community residents will support environmental education at  two local public schools when they celebrate their Earth Day on Wednesday, May 2, at  their Silver Spring campus. Beltsville Academy  in Prince George's County and Strathmore Elementary School in Montgomery County will benefit from the residents' used jewelry sale and from the raffle of two exquisite bird carvings.  Beltsville will add to its courtyard garden and Strathmore will engage children in growing 'salad' plants. The celebration will include the safe disposal of unused or expired medicines, a musical performance by  award winning middle schoolers,  the purchase of plants for patios or gardens, and an update about Chesapeake Bay conservation. Riderwood residents actually observe Earth Day every day of the year at their 120-acre campus through their wildlife habitat work. Their Riderwood Wildlife Habitat Project is certified under the Wildlife Habitat Council's Wildlife At WorkSM program. This certification recognizes the partnership between Riderwood residents and the campus' Grounds Department staff and their longstanding commitment to the natural environment, which is visible through the extensive acreage of protected woodlands and enhancement projects. Their commitment is setting new industry standards each day and has been evident throughout the history of Riderwood. During construction of Riderwood, more than  80 individual tree species that would have been cut were relocated on site and replanted in an arboretum and other natural areas around the campus. For this activity, the site received a Grand Award from the National Arborists Association in 2003. Riderwood residents built upon this work by forming a Wildlife Habitat Steering Committee to further enhance the property for wildlife. Resident members of the committee actively work to enhance the quality and diversity of plant life on the property, improve nesting habitat for small mammals and birds, manage and control invasive plant species and educate and involve other residents in the implementation of the wildlife habitat management plan. Prescriptions recommended to achieve these goals are carried out by focused groups, such as the Garden Club, Weed Warriors, Birders, Butterfly Garden Group, Global Warming Group and Project Budburst Group. The Steering Committee also works closing with the Grounds Department to implement many of the projects, such as those involving the landscaping. For example, the committee has worked with the Grounds Department to gradually replace the non-native, woody ornamental trees and shrubs around the property with native, berry-producing shrubs and trees, which will benefit a variety of birds, insects and mammals.