Beauty of Conservation Gardens

     We are currently witnessing major, frightening global change with its global warming and biodiversity crisis.  Many kinds of animals consume insects.  The number of insects has markedly decreased worldwide and so have their predators including many species of birds, reptiles, and mammals.  Insect pollinators are key in our food.  Conservationists and others note that Earth is losing entire species daily due to anthropogenic habitat loss, pesticides, and other factors.  

     Conservation gardens help to slow down Earth’s loss of biodiversity.  A conservation garden is one that supports many kinds of organisms such as beneficial soil bacteria, birds, native plants, and pollinators.  There are thousands of beneficial species in Glen Echo Heights.  Such gardens range from highly diverse and floriferous one, which can require much human care, through more naturalistic ones, which require less human care.  Naturalistic gardens have great ecological and conservation beauty.  However, to some people such gardens look too “wild.”  Naturalistic gardens are an acquired tastes for some.  Leaving brown stalks stand and at least some leaf litter in a conservation garden helps beneficial organisms including soil organisms, butterflies that overwinter in litter, bees that nest in stalks, and small mammals which obtain cover in garden litter throughout the year. 

     Montgomery County, MD, now promotes naturalized lawns with grasses and wildflowers because they improve air and soil quality and reduce stormwater runoff.  A 2019 Montgomery County law allows only organic lawn care of private lawns and childcare-facility grounds.  Fairfax County, VA, still restricts the height of lawn plants which unfortunately exempts many kinds of wildflowers from lawns.  The District of Columbia established the Green Yards Recognition Program in 2016.  As part of this program, its Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) produced a guide for businesses and residents providing guidance on safe and sustainable grounds-maintenance practices including participation in the Riversmart Homes Program, use of integrated-pest-management techniques, use of minimum-risk or organic pesticides, and use of electric- and battery-powered lawn-care equipment.  Gasoline-powered yard equipment is often highly polluting.  


☐ Forister, Matthew L., Emma M. Pelton, and Scott H. Black. 2019.  Declines in insect abundance and diversity: We know enough to act now. (August 20, 2019)

☐ Government of the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Financial Officer.  2016.  Memorandum. (August 20, 2019,  established the Green Yards Recognition Program)

☐ Montgomery County, MD.  2019.  Status of Montgomery County’s Pesticide Law.  (August 20, 2019).  

☐ Paul, Ellen.  2019.  Lawns may be green, but they’re terrible for the environment.  20 June. (August 20, 2019) 

☐ Ruppenthal, Alex.  2019.  Fearing the ‘Insect Apocalypse’? Renowned Entomologist Says ‘Get Rid of Your Lawn’ WTTW. (October 16, 2019)

© Glen Echo Heights Citizens' Association
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software