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Riderwood makes a splash at expo

Community takes green initiatives on the road

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May 31st, 2009
Recently, more than 40 Riderwood community members participated in the Healthy, Smart, Green and Growing Senior Expo at Behnke Nurseries, in Beltsville, Md. Hosted in partnership with the Lt. Governor s Office by the Maryland Department of Aging, the Prince George s County Department of Family Services, and Behnke Nurseries Co., Riderwood shared information on the numerous green efforts currently underway on campus. More than 400 seniors, community leaders, and elected officials attended. Our relationship with Riderwood has been ongoing for years, says Stephanie Fleming, Behnke s marketing director. It s great to see so many people from Riderwood participating in eff orts to protect and preserve our environment. Showcasing success Situated at the center of the exposition space, members of Riderwood s wildlife habitat management project, Greenhouse Association, garden club, and recycling group discussed the importance of their various projects. Anita Ward, a garden club member, shared information on Riderwood s three butterfly gardens and 167 vegetable and fl ower gardens all tended by residents. With help from the grounds committee, we work to remove invasive plants and promote the growth of veggies and flowers in our gardens, Ward says. Community members Bonnie and Tom Balzer shared important information on recycling, including what items are accepted in both Montgomery and Prince George s counties. The most important thing we can do is to get the message out, says Mrs. Balzer. It s so easy to reduce the amount of trash piling up in landfills. Distinction comes with hard work Representing the wildlife habitat management project, Anne Blackburn discussed Riderwood s certification as a national wildlife habitat. She also discussed the group s work to fulfill the four basic goals of a certified Wildlife Habitat Management Plan: improving nesting sites and cover; improving the quantity, quality, and diversity of food sources for wildlife; removing invasive plant species; and providing environmental education year-round. We just completed inspecting this year s bird houses, says Blackburn. We are all set up and ready to go. In fact, in the last few days we ve seen the birds checking out the boxes, and I m sure they ll be settling in very soon. Sue Prindle spoke with Prince George s County Councilman Tom Dernoga about Riderwood s Project BudBurst. ' This national field campaign powered by citizen scientists who track the leafing and flowering of local plant life aims to show how vegetation responds to climate change. Sharing tips with students During the expo, Riderwood community member and professional horticulturalist John Worthington discussed the recently created Greenhouse Association the community s partnership with High Point High School, in Burtonsville, Md. Garden club members travel to the school to share their agricultural knowledge with students in exchange for year-round use of the school s greenhouse. For me, the best part is showing high school students, many of whom have not decided what they want to do yet, how much fun horticulture can be and to see them get excited about it, Worthington says. I would love to entice some students into a job that can feed the world a job that actually helps people and one they will really enjoy once they learn more about it. Forward thinking Riderwood s green efforts continue throughout the year and require thousands of volunteer hours. As community members left the expo, they discussed possible new efforts as well as the upcoming annual Earth Day celebration; they know their eff orts will pay off for future generations. The expo was a wonderful event and a perfect opportunity to showcase how Riderwood is such a special place to live, says Worthington. We are very environmentally conscious.

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