Nature Rocks at Dorchester Community Center by Lynne Wheeler
What could be better than getting together outdoors and combining our love of nature with art? That is exactly what we did on Thursday, August 26, at the Dorchester Community Center; we painted rocks with scenes from nature. For those not in the know, the Southern Maryland Audubon Society (SMAS) received a grant from Chesapeake Bay Trust this spring for native plant landscaping for the front of the community center. And, boy, did our plants bloom! They provided us with a spectacular canvas.
The incorporation of native plants in our landscape is one of many of Audubon's passions, and teaching kids about why native plants are so important is not only a passion, but a mission. We love to educate about the many species of butterflies, moths, and birds that rely on native plants for their rich nectar and pollen - and to teach about how our caterpillars need their leaves as a food source! But wait! We're not done! Native plants also require less water and care, and protect the quality of water, land, and air. They truly are the gift that keeps on giving!
While the weather sputtered a bit with light rain, we really had fun talking about butterflies like the Monarch, and even got to look at Monarch caterpillars feasting on our Butterfly Weed milkweed in the garden (pictured)! We were also able to point out how other plants have gone to seed, and now our birds are enjoying them.
Soon fall will be here. We will weed and mulch our garden for the winter, and now is a good time for you to make your home garden friendly for our natural world. Leave your flower heads intact; the heads contain nutritious seeds for our birds. And, please do not cut down your dried stems! Many native plant stems like Beebalm provide winter habitat for our native bees. Be patient, trim down your plants in the spring. Help us keep La Plata beautiful and for the birds!!