EASTON – ShoreRivers – thanks to funding from the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s Green Streets, Green Jobs and Green Towns (G3) Grant Program – is in the process of improving three community green spaces on the Eastern Shore.
These spaces will be enhanced through the conversion of mowed lawn areas, or turf grass, into perennial wildflower meadows at James T. Wright Park in Preston, Oxford Cemetery and the Presbyterian Church of Chestertown.
“At each community space, the established meadows will be highly visible and a welcome improvement to existing landscapes,” a statement from the group said. “They will also serve to educate the community on the benefits of river-friendly practices that function as native bird and pollinator habitat.”
The towns of Preston, Oxford and Chestertown can expect to witness the various stages of turf-to-meadow conversion. Early in the process, residents and visitors should notice less green as the current vegetation is removed to make way for seed planting in late winter.
During the first two years of establishment, periodic mowing will occur to help reduce intrusion from invasive species. Around year three, the meadow will be humming with insects pollinating the colorful, seasonal flowers. Each of these projects will take time to complete, but will provide benefits both aesthetically and to native plant and pollinator habitat, and for climate change resiliency.
In 2017, ShoreRivers developed its River-Friendly Yards program to inspire and empower residents to become environmental stewards of their own properties through direct action such as reducing turf grass, eliminating lawn fertilizer, planting natives, installing rain gardens and increasing buffers along rivers, creeks and ditches.
A River-Friendly Yard mimics the natural environment to benefit water quality, native birds and pollinators, and the local ecosystem. The program now encompasses River-Friendly campuses, congregations, communities and roadsides.
The G3 Program is funded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region III, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the Chesapeake Bay Trust, and supports the design and implementation of green streets, community greening and urban tree canopy projects that enhance livability in cities and communities.
In addition to funding the conversion of these meadows, the program is also providing funding for ShoreRivers to design multiple green infrastructure projects at St. Mary’s Refuge of Sinners Church in Cambridge.
To learn more about these, and other similar ShoreRivers projects, visit shorerivers.org/river-friendly-yards.