EARTH SANGHA | NATIVE ARBORETUM: REDISCOVERING OUR NATIVE FLORA

Our Native Arboretum project is transforming the Marie Butler Leven Preserve, a 20-acre park in McLean, Virginia, into an extensive collection of plants native to the greater Washington, DC, region.

Our objective is to create a botanical library. A broad range of native trees, shrubs, vines, and nonwoody plants will be available for viewing, accompanied by labels keyed to major field guides. The Native Arboretum will be a public resource for building ecological literacy, and for creating a stronger mandate for conservation.

The Native Arboretum project began in 2004. As you can see from the slide shows and other coverage available from this page, we have made very substantial progress. But the Preserve is heavily infested by invasive alien plants; we have had to fight the invasives for just about every square foot of area restored—and we still have an enormous amount of work to do. If you live in the DC area and would like to help, please consider volunteering!

Our Native Arboretum Project Module Map shows all of our project modules.

Native Arboretum Aerial shows the Marie Butler Leven Preserve without our project overlays.

For recent activities at the Marie Butler Leven Preserve, read the Native Arboretum News.

These two slide shows cover our work at the Preserve in recent years:
the 2010 Native Arboretum slide show, and
the 2009 Native Arboretum slide show.

For a history in pictures of our initial years at the Preserve,
look at the 2003-08 Native Arboretum slide show.

For the start of the Rain Garden,
view the 2005-08 Rain Garden slide show.

For the establishment of the Restored Habitat Area,
view the 2004-08 Restored Habitat Area slide show.

For a look at some of the Preserve's native plants,
view the Native Arboretum Native Plants slide show.

For more information on alien plant infestations at the Preserve,
look at the Native Arboretum Invasive Alien Plant List.

As with many other mid-Atlantic parks, the Preserve is heavily browsed by deer. To learn more about deer-browsing pressure, read our Backgrounder on White-Tailed Deer and Our Plant Communities.

 
Move
Planting the Rain Garden.
  • Planting the Rain Garden.
    Planting the Rain Garden.
  • Soil management in the Restored Habitat Area.
    Soil management in the Restored Habitat Area.
  • Spot-weeding near the Gorge.
    Spot-weeding near the Gorge.
  • Planting a forest edge.
    Planting a forest edge.
  • The Native Pollinator Garden in late summer.
    The Native Pollinator Garden in late summer.
  • Setting up an invasives-control test plot.
    Setting up an invasives-control test plot.
  • Starting work on the Meditation Garden.
    Starting work on the Meditation Garden.
  • Dumpster-stuffing another load of invasive slash!
    Dumpster-stuffing another load of invasive slash!
  • Extending the Restored Habitat Area.
    Extending the Restored Habitat Area.
  • The Restored Habitat Area in fall.
    The Restored Habitat Area in fall.
  • Weeding an oak-hickory planting.
    Weeding an oak-hickory planting.
  • The Witch-Hazel Grove in fall.
    The Witch-Hazel Grove in fall.
  • Cutting away an invasive vine curtain.
    Cutting away an invasive vine curtain.

Planting the Rain Garden.
 
 
Above: Scenes from our work at the Native Arboretum.
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