Montgomery Parks Increases Local Pollinators by Removing Invasive Plants From its Parks and Meadows

Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is increasing pollinators and native wildlife in its parks. Through its Meadow Management and Restoration Program, the department is seeing a resurgence of many new pollinator-friendly plants. At Rachel Carson Conservation Park, parks staff restored eight acres of a meadow over the past two years and plans to restore 12 more acres by the summer of next year.

Senior Natural Resources Specialist Dianna Loescher oversees Montgomery Parks’ Meadow Management and Restoration Program.  “The goal of the restoration program is to increase native biodiversity to better support pollinators and native wildlife,” Loescher said. “With this unique program, we are boosting the health and resiliency of our native ecosystems through planting efforts.”

Rachel Carson Conservation Park is experiencing a reawakening of its meadow after the Meadow Management and Restoration Team removed invasive, non-native plants, including Japanese stilt grass, Himalayan blackberry, autumn olive, Bradford pear, Japanese honeysuckle, and mile-a-minute. With the invasive plants gone, pollinator-friendly plants have room to flourish.  As the meadow at Rachel Carson continues to flourish, the team will focus resources at other park locations to address the ongoing threat of invasive plants to local wildlife.

Ryan Colliton is a vegetation ecologist and principal natural resources specialist with the parks department. “By planting those species, we are creating a resilient native habitat,” said Colliton. “Because it’s so diverse, it’s much more likely to deflect invasion by non-native invasive species. But we will always need to go back and check to make sure things aren’t reverting to the way they were.”

In some Montgomery County meadows, invasive species are so pervasive that there are widespread population declines of local pollinators such as bees, butterflies — including the giant swallowtail — and moths, namely the wavy-lined emerald moth, which uses Maryland’s state flower, the black-eyed Susan, as a host plant. In 2020, the park’s meadow could not support many pollinators because it had just 15 different plant species. At its latest count, the number of plant species at Rachel Carson Conservation Park has almost tripled. Now there are about 40 different types of plants. Because the meadow is more diverse, pollinators have a consistent rotation of food sources as plants bloom at different times during the year.

The Vegetation Ecology and Management Unit removed non-native invasive plants and reintroduced pollinator-friendly plants at several other parks, including Sligo-Dennis Stream Valley, Meadowside Nature Center at Rock Creek Regional Park, and Locust Grove Nature Center at Cabin John Regional Park. Park visitors can see the revitalization at Rachel Carson Conservation Park with the blooming of native wildflowers such as daisy fleabanes and black-eyed Susans which are abundant during peak blooming seasons.

Inspired gardeners should check out the Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed(opens in a new tab) guide from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to learn about native plants that benefit pollinators. Visit the Montgomery Parks webpage on the Meadow Management and Restoration Program(opens in a new tab) for more information.

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17th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival

Now in its 17th year, the Kensington Day of the Book Festival is a family-friendly street festival featuring 150+ renowned authors, poets, and literary organizations. Enjoy live music on five stages, special guest speakers, military veteran writers and comedians, poetry readings, cookbook demos, children's program, and much more.

Admission is free, and attendees will also be able to explore a marketplace of books and food offerings from local vendors.

Not your average book festival! This festival offers something for everyone!

17th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival

Sunday, April 21, 2024, 11am-4pm (held rain or shine!)

Howard Avenue, Kensington, MD 20895

Instagram: @kensingtonbookfestival

Contact: Elisenda Sola-Sole, Festival Director

[email protected]

301-949-9416 (text preferred)

FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival

Get ready to experience the vibrant colors, tantalizing flavors, and infectious rhythms of the Caribbean at the FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival! Hosted by RHU LLC, this exciting festival is set to take place on May 18, 2024, at the picturesque 16700 Barnesville Rd in Boyds, MD.

Step into a world where the Caribbean spirit comes alive! From 12:00 PM onwards, immerse yourself in a sensory journey that celebrates the unique culture, cuisine, and music of the Caribbean. Whether you're an African American, a Reggae or Soca music enthusiast, a wine lover, or part of the vibrant Caribbean diaspora, this festival promises to delight and captivate you in every way.

Let the enticing aromas of mouthwatering Caribbean dishes tantalize your taste buds. Feast on traditional delicacies prepared by expert chefs, showcasing the rich and diverse culinary heritage of the Caribbean. Indulge in flavorful jerk chicken, succulent seafood, and delectable plantain dishes that will transport you straight to the islands.

Accompanying the culinary extravaganza is a carefully curated selection of premium wines, ensuring the perfect pairing for your palate. Sip on fine wines from renowned vineyards, each sip a reflection of the Caribbean's vibrant spirit. Discover new flavors, expand your wine knowledge, and savor unforgettable moments with every glass.

As the sun sets, get ready to groove to the infectious rhythms of Caribbean music. Feel the pulsating beats of reggae, soca, dancehall, and calypso, moving your body to the lively melodies. Live performances by talented musicians and performers will keep the energy high, ensuring a night of unforgettable entertainment.

Don't miss this opportunity to embrace the Caribbean spirit and celebrate the arrival of spring in style! Tickets are available on AllEvents, so secure your spot today. Join us at the FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival, where cultures collide and unforgettable memories are made.



2 NIGHT Camping packages available: RV/CAMPER $200 | TENTS $150 Starting on Friday May 17 @ 5pm | 30 RV SPACES | 30+ TENT SPACES



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