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Replacing Lawn with Natives at a Virginia Rest Stop

On a cloudy humid morning, a small group of about 50 diverse people came together at the Dale City, Virginia, northbound rest stop.  They weren’t travelling through and stopping briefly for a break.  On the contrary, these people came here to work.  They were generously donating their time for one common passion: our pollinators.  These volunteers, over the course of the day, manually installed more than 8,000 flowering perennials in 15,000 square feet of former turfgrass.  An impressive and inspiring undertaking.

Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) is one of 13 species of plants being installed.

Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) was one of 13 species of plants installed.

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Sue Dingwell of the Virginia Native Plant Society offered expertise and energy to the mass VDOT planting.

Native planting at Dale City rest area

Volunteers toiled for most of the day.

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This gentleman, a Dominion VA Power volunteer, shows off one of the plant plugs.

Katherine Daniels of Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy happily digs in.

Katherine Daniels of the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy happily digs in.

September 29, 2015 

VDOT’S POLLINATOR HABITAT PROGRAM MOVES TOWARD STATEWIDE IMPLEMENTATION

DALE CITY- Monarch butterflies appear to flutter carefree with the breeze, but their survival is under constant threat due to dwindling habitats and food supplies.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Dominion Virginia Power teamed up with the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, Native Plant Society and Valley Land on Tuesday to plant more than 8,000 pollinator-friendly plants at the Dale City Rest Area on Interstate 95 north in Northern Virginia.  This project is part of VDOT’s Pollinator Habitat Program, which aims to create “waystations” or refuges for Monarch butterflies and other threatened pollinators.

Read more about this project from VDOT here.