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Project Spotlight: Habitat Heroes

by Lisa Matthews, MFMN Class of 2010 (photo by Jenny Meyer)

The Habitat Heroes project is an outreach project of MFVMN that 15 of us have been working on for over a year. We are almost ready to start the outreach for this project.

For years, we have staffed booths and invited our community to come to us for educational walks and talks. We do have some success at reaching our community, but we also have a low attendance from diverse communities.

Having spoken with other groups and organization representatives, this issue is common. How to reach the public and get the message that “we need to care for our planet” to them? We need to go to them. We need to come to their neighborhoods, introduce them to the concepts. We need to bring them Doug Tallamy’s message of "Bringing Nature Home."

The regional Plant NOVA Natives campaign has already made impressive progress with the idea with the “Free the Trees” campaign, in which volunteers go into neighborhoods to point out the invasive vines that are choking and killing trees, and encouraging neighbors to help those trees by removing the invasive vines.

Our idea is to offer to lead a nature walk in a neighborhood natural area, then walk back through the neighborhood to talk about the beneficial plants in the neighborhood and gently explain about alternatives to the not-so-great. Our partner organizations -- Keep Prince William Beautiful, the Virginia Native Plant Society, Audubon at Home, etc. -- would meet us at the end of the walk and offer information and resources to the homeowners, encouraging them to become “Habitat Heroes”.

Additionally, we need to reach out to churches, community areas and HOAs, and wineries and breweries with large lawn areas to encourage their leadership/owners to incorporate native plants into their landscapes and reduce the lawn sizes.

Interested in learning more? Email for the project description! Let’s save the world!


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