|Organization||Subsidiary||Program Name||Certification Tier||State / Province||Country||Certified Through|
|Asbury Methodist Village||Asbury Methodist Village||Certified||Maryland||United States||2020|
|Project Type||Project Name|
Asbury Methodist Village’s Asbury Methodist Village is a nationally accredited, not-for-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community in Gaithersburg, Maryland. More than 1,400 individuals reside on the campus, which is staffed by more than 850 associates. All 130 acres of the property are actively managed to benefit wildlife such as pollinators, songbirds, and bats. The wildlife habitat on campus includes a 17-acre nature preserve with woodlands and ponds, four pollinator gardens, and 12 birdhouses that have successfully fledged bluebirds each year since they have been installed. With 85 years of experience, the organization has been recognized for its award-winning community design, wellness programming, services and healthcare.
A team of dedicated volunteers continues to monitor the eastern bluebird nest boxes. Each of the 12 nest boxes has an assigned monitor. Between 2011 and 2013, at least four bluebird nestlings fledged each year. In addition, at least two pairs of tree swallows have also had nestlings fledge each year between 2011 and 2013. These boxes have some protection from predators, to ensure that the birds inside will be safe from harm.
Four pollinator gardens, designed to attract pollinating species such as butterflies, bees, bats, and hummingbirds, have been planted exclusively using native plants. Pollinator plot #1 was established in June of 2008, pollinator plot #2 was established in June of 2010, pollinator plot #3 was established in May of 2012 and pollinator plot #4 was established in June of 2013. Examples of the native plants used in these gardens include arrow arum, swamp rose mallow, blue flag iris, woolgrass, cardinal flower, butterfly milkweed, indiangrass, black-eyed Susan, purple cornflower, lanceleaf coreopsis, big bluestem and spotted beebalm. The gardens provide important habitat for birds, insects and small mammals.
Numerous invasive plant species have been identified on-site, including Callery pear, Norway maple, kudzu, porcelainberry and multiflora rose. A number of invasive species are being controlled, including English ivy in woodland areas and phragmites, mile-a-minute, wineberry, oriental bittersweet and Japanese honeysuckle around the pond. Native plantings were installed around the pond to prevent regrowth of invasive species and provide habitat for wildlife.
The team demonstrates their commitment to conservation education by creating numerous opportunities for residents to learn about and become involved in the program. Regular articles in Village Life, the campus newspaper, help spread awareness and advertise ways to become involved. Presentations on AVTV, the campus television station, also spread the word of upcoming events and activities while giving residents important information about the program. An AVTV Wildlife series began in January of 2010. These presentations are also placed online at the AMV website.
In-person presentations, known as the Wildlife Habitat Team Speakers Series, are held frequently, with the first taking place in 2008. The 2012-2013 series had a total of 10 presentations between September 2012 and May 2013. Presentations were given by guest speakers from organizations such as Black Hill Nature Park, the Humane Society, and the Montgomery County Historical Society, who came to share information and activities with residents. Topics discussed during the series included “How Public Spaces Connect Us”, “Urban Wildlife”, and “Archeological Sites in Montgomery County.”
With assistance from aspiring Eagle Scouts in 2011, plant identification signs in pollinator plot #2 and 65 signs identifying trees throughout the campus have been installed to help residents recognize and learn native plant species. These identification signs will eventually be integrated into the website with a campus map showing notable and identified trees, along with a link to information about the particular species and variety. The long-term goal is to have a pamphlet identifying the marked trees on the walking trail, which was created in 2010.
Asbury Methodist Village’s program extends beyond residents of this not-for-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community. The Resident Garden Club assists youth and their parents with a community garden in Gaithersburg, MD. The youth are educated on the importance of native species and pollinator friendly practices as well as effective gardening. The gardens the club maintains on Asbury Methodist Village’s campus are used as a teaching site for community partners.
Numerous times throughout the year, wildlife programs are presented to the residents. The hosts range from residents with an expertise in natural resources to wildlife rehabilitators and naturalists who visit from the surrounding community. All wildlife learning programs are recorded and played on the campus TV station to allow visitors to watch at their convenience.
In 2011, Asbury Methodist Village has partnered with the Gaithersburg Elementary School’s Photography and Nature Program. Local students came to the campus to photograph wildlife. Residents assisted the students with their project. The students’ work will be displayed at Asbury Methodist Village upon completion. The site also hosted local scouts to complete their Eagle Scout project. Two scouts identified and tagged each tree on the campus. A database was created with the number and name of each tree. This project will allow future visitors and residents the opportunity to increase their tree identification skills.