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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                               Contact: Dave Swan, DTSwan@aol.com

April 21, 2008                                                                                                                                        703-925-9173

Friends of Runnymede Park Launches Native Plant Project

The Friends of Runnymede Park has announced the launch of a new Native Plant Project designed to highlight the value of landscaping with native plants. The group was awarded a Nelson J. and Katherine Friant Post Foundation grant that will fund the program.

The Native Plant Project will feature plant species that are native to this area. These require minimal fertilizer and water, are attractive together, and are beneficial to the land and to the bird, insect, and other wildlife of the area. The Friends will partner with local garden centers to highlight those native plants that are optimal for the Herndon area.

"We will work with these retailers to create Native Plant Project display sections with signage that highlights the value of using these plants in the Herndon area. Display plants will carry a certification that they have been endorsed by the Friends of Runnymede Park as optimal to improving the habitat in this area," said Friends of Runnymede President Dave Swan. "We are especially pleased to announce that Meadows Farms Nurseries has joined with us be the first retailer in our area to launch this important program."

The Post Foundation grant will allow the Friends of Runnymede Park to develop interpretive signage and handouts that will be available at the retail partners and at the interpretive garden in Runnymede Park.

"We will encourage developers to partner with us and use Native Plant Project principles as they landscape new commercial and residential projects within the Town. Projects that are certified as Native Plant Project Gardens will receive an attractive permanent plaque featuring the Native Plant Project logo. In addition to the recognition, these partners will enjoy the benefits of improved habitat, storm water management enhancement, and real dollar cost savings by using native plants in their landscaping," Swan said.

"We look forward to working with our local retail and commercial partners to highlight and expand this program. The value to the property owner of lower maintenance costs and native beauty should be its own selling feature."

"We also hope to work with Town of Herndon staff in the future to encourage new commercial and residential developments to install Native Plant Project gardens. This will help to further the goal of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan to reduce alien invasive plants in the area and increase the native tree canopy by 2030."

Native Plant Project gardens can be of various sizes and types, as there is a broad range of appropriate native plants available. The newly created native interpretive garden at Runnymede Park will serve as a resource for those who want to envision what landscaping with Native Plant Project guidelines might look like. A visitor there will see how these plants can thrive and be used together to improve habitat.

The purpose of the Friends of Runnymede Park is to protect, enhance, and preserve the physical, natural, and cultural heritage of Runnymede Park in the Town of Herndon, Fairfax County, Virginia.

For more information contact Dave Swan at DTSwan@aol.com, or go to frpweb.org.