Monday, November 28, 2011

Katie O'Malley - First Lady helping to keep environment first

Followers of the Metro DC Lawn and Garden Blog know that I've mentioned several times what a great idea I think it would be for Michelle Obama to create a butterfly garden at the Whitehouse. Although I think teaching kids to plant their own vegetables is a great way to get them outside and eating healthy, my personal opinion is that encouraging them to get up close and personal with nature provides the added benefit of creating a new generation of environmental stewards.

Well, move over Michelle Obama. First Lady Katie O'Malley has beat you to it - she's working towards getting the entire city of Annapolis certified as a National Wildlife Federation Community Habitat. If successful, Annapolis will become the Chesapeake Bay's first Community Habitat.

A NWF Community Wildlife Habitat is a region that provides habitat for wildlife and practices sustainable gardening ─ in individual backyards, on school grounds and in public areas such as parks, community gardens, places of worship and businesses. The objective of NWF’s Community Habitat program is to create partnerships and help the City of Annapolis raise citizen awareness about watershed challenges and issues, and build ownership of local waterways─ with the ultimate goal of engaging more individuals and organizations in stewardship practices. In addition to providing a positive impact on the environment, creating a friendly environment for birds and butterflies is bound to draw more kids outside AND turn them into great environmental stewards.

Receiving certification as a NWF Community Habitat is no easy task. It requires property owners, schools and businesses to join together to work towards earning the points necessary for achieving certification.

Kudos to First Lady Katie O'Malley for taking this positive step for the city of Annapolis.

“Our Bay is one of our State’s most precious natural treasures,” First Lady  O’Malley said. “Martin and I have a garden at home, and we use it to demonstrate what each of us can do to improve our health and protect our environment by growing fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs. I am very proud of our communities, schools and businesses for coming together to encourage environmental stewardship and realizing the importance of saving our Bay.”

The Government House garden now houses a bee hive for honey, a water fountain to attract birds and bees, three water barrels, a natural setting of trees, brush and shrubs to provide shelter for animals and insects, a food garden, and natural landscape to reduce water usage and maintenance costs.

Hmmm, how do I wrap a rain barrel?

With lots of green gardeners on my list, I've been busy in my garage workshop making rain barrels for some of my friends. It's a very easy process that just requires a few tools. I buy the empty barrels, add a spigot and holes for the downspout and overflow and BAM! instant water savings and Bay protection in one! But wrapping and getting those babies under the Christmas tree is probably going to be quite a challenge! For lots of great information about rain barrels, including a video on how to make them, check out this post: The Rain Barrel Response. And in the meantime, why not take our poll:

Where do the gutters on your roof drain to?

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