EARTH SANGHA | NEWS: UPDATES ON THE SANGHA'S WORK
May 5: We broke a sales record at our Open House Plant Sale this year! We raised over $18,500 between plant and coffee sales. Over 250 woody and herbaceous species were available, all of them grown by us from locally collected wild seed. The Sangha’s own Rising Forests Coffee was also available by the bag or cup for patrons to enjoy while they browsed. The proceeds from the Open House Plant Sale will go to restoration work in Fairfax County parkland and Rising Forests Coffee sales will go to our Tree Bank Hispaniola program.
Special thanks to all the volunteers who made this possible by hauling plants, running the checkout table, identifying plants, and bringing delicious snacks. It would not have been such a success without the help of our volunteers, watering Divas, and the Arlington Master Naturalists. We are looking forward to our Fall Plant Sale, check back for the date and list of species available, but if you need to purchase native plants before that contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 27: The Earth Sangha formally attended the ParkFairfax Plant Sale for the first time to sell our own Rising Forests Coffee. The sale was a great success and raised over $600 for tropical forest conservation and sustainable agriculture in the Dominican Republic. We will be returning to future ParkFairfax Plant Sales to sell bags and cups of our deliciously smooth coffee.
April 20 & 21: Lisa sent out a call for help at our Wild Plant Nursery. Our collection of local ecotype plants (the largest in the region!) was in desperate need of shade! Over a dozen volunteers heeded the call to action and stretched shade cloth across our newly renovated shade structures built with the help of Boy Scout Troop 1128. The shade cloth is now fully installed except for one section where we have not finished replacing the old wooden frames with metal ones.
April 18: Thirteen super-volunteers helped plant 250 tree seedlings at the historic wetland at Daingerfield Island! Within 2 hours these veteran naturalists had planted all 250 tree seedlings species such as Black Willow, Buttonbush, Silky Dogwood, Winterberry Holly, and American Elm.
April 14: Thirty volunteers arrived to plant native meadow species such as Solidago juncea, Solidago rugosa, Solidago nemoralis, Eupatorium rotundifolium, and Doellingeria umballata and sow Broomssedge bluestem seed and more Solidago mix at our 13-acre meadow restoration site at Occoquan Bay National WIldlife Refuge. They also faced an equally important task of removing black locust seedlings from the meadow site. Black locust can quickly overrun meadows. Chris has been using a scythe to maintain the grassy area here.
April 9: Two Biology classes from Northern Virginia Community College, one from the Annandale campus and another from the Alexandria campus, visited our Wild Plant Nursery as a part of their lab classes. After a tour the students helped out by weeding around the nursery.
April 6: About a dozen volunteers came out to our River of Grass site behind the horse barn at Meadowood to plant native grass and meadow species. The main challenge near the horse barn is that the large horse pastures cannot absorb rain water and whenever rain fall arrives, it creates an even deeper gully, thereby overwhelming the little pond and then the streams down below. Together we planted over 140 pots of native grasses, sedges and herbaceous plants.
March 30: Chris Bright installed a trial system for a new watering system at our Wild Plant Nursery. The new watering system suspends the sprinklers above the pots using metal stakes which should prevent accidental damage to the sprinkler heads and allow for better water coverage.
March 24: Alan Ford led the on-going invasives removal effort at Marie Butler Leven Preserve. As part of the Fairfax County Park Authority’s IMA (Invasives Management Area) program, Alan and his volunteers removed invasive English Ivy from the eastern corner of the park. Alan and his volunteers continue to visit this site to keep the invasives in check.
March 22: We are pleased to welcome 7 new members into our Forest Credit Program: Celestino Recio, Javier Julio Perez, Leodoro Espinal, Angelita Perez, Ambioris Jimenez, Alberto Martinez, and Manuel Tejada. With the land these farmers have enrolled we now have a total of 70 acres of forest in credit conservation easements. Our Forest Credit Program allows us to use our limited funding much more efficiently. We are able to lend much more money then we could afford to pay out in direct support.
March 17 & 20: Volunteers from Michael Sasso’s middle-school class at the Brown Academy helped to clear invasives from a park at Arlington Village. His gung-ho students completely removed a large English Ivy infestation as well as removing invasive Lesser celandine.
March 10: 20 volunteers supporting the Jewish Federation’s Good Deeds Day, Girl Scouts and Sangha members helped clean up Roaches Run. This eclectic bunch ventured into the stream pulling out trash and picked up litter along the south side of the park. We will return on March 24, to clean the rest of the park. The National Park Service will replant the newly cleared land with native species.
March 8, 9, & 10: A small group of volunteers led by Rod Simmons dug up native plants to be repotted at the nursery. Huntley Meadows Park is expanding its trail network and native bushy broomsedge, lowbush blueberry and dangleberry were rescued out of the path of the new trail. The rescued flora now reside safely at our Wild Plant Nursery.
February 16: 10 volunteers from George Mason University and Circle K International Club removed invasives at the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Reserve. Invasive bradford pears had begun to encroach on restored meadow land, and our volunteers braved the thorns to cut back and uproot this dense scrambling shrub. If you were hoping to get in on the action , don’t worry; there are plenty more invasives to remove at this site.
February 4: Winter at the Wild Plant Nursery can only mean one thing: seed cleaning! Lisa and 14 volunteers cleaned seeds at the Long Branch Nature Center. Most of our seed cleaning events focus on preparing herbaceous meadow species for direct sowing in fields, such as the Eupatorium and Solidago species that we sowed at Meadowood last fall. If you’re interested in joining us, check our field schedule, or contact Lisa.
February 2: Winter means seed cleaning with the Arlington Regional Master Naturalists. Volunteers working at the Long Branch Nature Center worked over 250 man hours cleaning seeds from various herbaceous meadow species. These seeds will be sown directly into meadows we are restoring this spring and summer. Check our field schedule when the weather warms up for volunteer events where we'll be using these seeds.
January 19: Ian Havasy from Boy Scout Troop 1128 completed his Eagle Scout project by leading over 40 volunteers to complete renovations at our Wild Plant Nursery. Ian led his troops in replacing aging PVC pipe with a new stainless steel canopy for both the woody and herbaceous sides of the nursery. Thanks to Ian and his fellow scouts, our 200+ species of native plants will be better protected from the sun and elements for years to come.
January 13: About 15 members and coffee drinkers joined us at Beanetics Coffee Roasters in Annandale to watch the “Rising Forests” Tree Bank video. Creators Steven and Gina Biver were there to explain the creative process behind the film and Steven’s experiences in the Dominican Republic shooting the film. David, owner of Beanetics, also gave everyone a tour and demonstration of the roasting facility where all our Rising Forests coffee is prepared. If you haven’t seen the video already, you can watch it here: http://www.earthsangha.org/tbh/tbhvideo.html
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