Beautiful gardens can be more than just pleasing to look at; they can improve the environment for wildlife and for humans.
The Bowie Gardens for Wildlife Habitat Team, in conjunction with the city's Environmental Advisory Committee, are working to make gardens havens for local wildlife, and humans.
Join them this weekend for their first Bowie Certified Habitat Tour on Saturday, May 19 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The tour will include eight homes and one place of worship, all of which are opening their garden habitats to their neighbors and will share how they are providing food, water, shelter, cover, and using sustainable gardening practices to improve the environment, according to a press release.
Creating habitats to support local fauna helps the community combat habitat loss due to development, invasive species, and climate change, according to the press release. As habitat owner Maria Arnold shared, “Our habitat started when I gave my husband (my boyfriend at the time), a Spicebush, the host plant for the Spicebush butterfly, and it grew from there.”
“Now the biodiversity in the yard is striking, and it’s fun to explore what is visiting, or making a home, in the habitat,” she said.
This tour is part of a project for the city to become a National Wildlife Federation (NWF) certified Community Wildlife Habitat. In order to qualify, Bowie must have: 200 homes, five schools, and six community sites as certified habitats by NWF, as well as meeting specific education and community project requirements. Currently, Bowie has more than 100 homes, four schools, and two community sites that are certified habitats.
Saturday’s tour sites and their features include:
12100 Rustic Hill Dr. - Butterfly/hummingbird garden, pond, rain barrel, hardscaping.
- 12311 Manvel Ln. - Creative use of hillside made barren following BGE tree trimming, inventive vegetable & flower growing areas, bird baths, rain barrels, reduced lawn, feeding stations for birds, outdoor shower.
- 12503 Saber Ln. - Bird houses, feeders, and bath (with mister)
- 12400 Shelter Ln. - Bay-Wise garden with native plants and non-native ornamentals, no pesticide use, reduced lawn area, insect haven.
- 2921 Tallow Ln. - Original tree-less, shrub-less horse pasture Levitt home turned backyard retreat with no grass (ask about the crabapples and the wrens.)
- 12711 Kavanaugh Ln. - Rain garden, pond, 50+ native plant species, compost, no pesticides, “plant it and they will come!”
- 12525 Kingsfield Ln. - Rain barrels, many native plants, composter, no-to-low maintenance yard.
- 2509 Knighthill Ln. - Reduced lawn in front, no lawn in back. Almost completely native plants. Blooms all season from March-November. Monarch haven in summer; lots of pollinators; lots of birds. No pesticides.
- 16510 Mt. Oak Rd. (All Saints Lutheran Church) - Rain garden, native plantings, invasive plant removal program.
Check here if you are interested in learning more about the qualification for a NWF certified habitat.
To learn more about this project, obtain a tour flier with map, or become a Habitat Team member, contact the Habitat Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.