SILVER SPRING, MD (April 19, 2012) - Riderwood retirement community residents observe Earth Day every day of the year at their 120-acre campus through their wildlife habitat work. Their Riderwood Wildlife Habitat Project is certified under the Wildlife Habitat Council's Wildlife At WorkSM program. This certification recognizes the partnership between Riderwood residents and the campus' Grounds Department staff and their longstanding commitment to the natural environment, which is visible through the extensive acreage of protected woodlands and enhancement projects. Their commitment is setting new industry standards each day and has been evident throughout the history of Riderwood.
During construction of Riderwood, more than 80 individual tree species that would have been cut were relocated on site and replanted in an arboretum and other natural areas around the campus. For this activity, the site received a Grand Award from the National Arborists Association in 2003.
Riderwood residents built upon this work by forming a Wildlife Habitat Steering Committee to further enhance the property for wildlife. Resident members of the committee actively work to enhance the quality and diversity of plant life on the property, improve nesting habitat for small mammals and birds, manage and control invasive plant species and educate and involve other residents in the implementation of the wildlife habitat management plan.
Prescriptions recommended to achieve these goals are carried out by focused groups, such as the Garden Club, Weed Warriors, Birders, Butterfly Garden Group, Global Warming Group and Project Budburst Group. The Steering Committee also works closing with the Grounds Department to implement many of the projects, such as those involving the landscaping. For example, the committee has worked with the Grounds Department to gradually replace the non-native, woody ornamental trees and shrubs around the property with native, berry-producing shrubs and trees, which will benefit a variety of birds, insects and mammals.
Other projects undertaken by the committee include maintaining butterfly and sensory gardens, creation of meadow habitat, snag management, recycling Christmas greens and fallen trees into brush piles, monitoring nest boxes for songbirds and wood ducks, maintaining a floating platform for waterfowl, monitoring bat boxes, and controlling non-native invasive species.
Riderwood's Corporate Lands for LearningSM (CLL) program, certified since 2008, aims to help residents (as well as visitors and staff members) experience and value the natural world and be more active in its protection and wise use. All educational activities, designed by residents for residents, are divided into the categories of "Listening and Watching" activities and "Learning by Doing" activities in order to provide something for every member of the Riderwood community. Outside experts visit the campus regularly for lectures on topics that link to the Riderwood habitat and to the global environment. Recent topics include "Research on Monarch Butterfly Migration," "Fall Migration of Birds and Butterflies," "Birds of Riderwood" and "Environmental Challenges of the 21st Century."