Leesburg Garden Club Awards Grant to Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy

The Leesburg Garden Club has made a $3,500 grant to the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, the first of three gifts this year from the club’s grant program.

The other two grants will go to Lucketts Elementary School and Tuscarora High School.

According to the garden club, the grants are meant “to promote active interest in gardening and to assist in the protection and development of the natural beauties of the State.”

In the case of the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, from 2018 to 2019, volunteers planted 1,358 native plants in each of two pollinator gardens on either side of the W&OD Trail, creating the Harrison Street Pollinator Meadow. The grant funding will help buy a number of plants that are still needed, along with interpretive signage to help visitors identify the many native plants along the trail.

“Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is honored to be a grant recipient of the Leesburg Garden Club,” stated Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy Executive Director Michael Myers. “We’re looking forward to installing interpretive panels at the Harrison St. Pollinator Meadow to not only educate and inspire the residents of Leesburg about the value and importance of pollinators, but also to encourage everyone to support and attract pollinators by creating more native plant habitats.”

The trail’s heavy traffic and proximity to the meadows made it an ideal spot for that work, giving trail users the chance to learn more about the importance of pollinators, the habitat they need, and to see an example of planting and maintaining pollinator meadows.

It has been a community project.

Carol Sottili, a Crescent Place resident and Virginia Master Naturalist, saw the space that would become the Harrison Street Pollinator Meadows. Wildlife Conservancy members Ann Garvey and BJ Lecrone put in extensive work to create the pollinator meadows. And conservancy volunteers did the work of planting.

The Town of Leesburg’s Department of Parks and Recreation will take over the maintenance of the meadows once established. A formal dedication will be planned when the interpretive signage has been installed.

The meadows are on the east side of Harrison Street as it crosses the W&OD Trail, a close Crescent Place neighborhood.

The grant was celebrated with an informal, socially distanced ceremony on June 24 to hand off the check.

Lucketts Elementary School and Tuscarora High School will both also receive grant funding. Students and teachers at the high school will construct an Outdoor Classroom and Learning Lab, while the elementary school students will improve the courtyard with native plants, trees, and shrubs and install a Monarch Waystation.