In celebration of the 90th anniversary of Ayr Hill Garden Club’s founding mission to create and maintain beauty in the Vienna community,
the Club created the Greener Vienna Grant Program in 2019. In addition to funds, our experience and resources with native Virginia plants are being made available. The aim of the group seeking a grant is to introduce gardening to encourage the use of native plants and trees in public gardens throughout Vienna.
We are currently taking applications for the 2020-21 grant year. Submissions are due by February 1, 2021 and will be awarded April 1, 2021
Awarded grant proposal for 2019:
Emmanuel Lutheran Preschool
2589 Chain Bridge Road, Vienna, VA 22181
Contact Name: Jenny Reinhart
Participants: Children/Ages 3 to 5 years - 54
We understand that children benefit greatly from learning more about the world around them. We want them to be part of that growing world in order to better appreciate it and to learn how to be part of caring properly for these trees and plants. We currently have small garden areas outside our 4 classrooms, adjacent to the parking, and we maintain these each year, as well as planters on our playground. Our children currently plant flowers (violas), bulbs, and some vegetables each year in these areas. They also participate in nature walks, harvesting mini pumpkins from our pumpkin vines, and learning more about nature and growing plants in their science classes. Last spring our 4’s Pre-K classes started marigolds from seeds to observe the growing process. They planted them in our preschool gardens. We also hatch butterflies each spring. Our classes try to set them free in the native plant garden planted by Ayr Hill at ELC. Our next goal is to teach them more about Native plants and how they are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions where they naturally occur. They can learn about how important these plant species are because they provide nectar, pollen, and seeds that serve as food for native butterflies, insects, birds and other animals.
Our plan is to create a new preschool garden with two native trees surrounded by native plants. The preschool children would be part of planting, watering, and making observations of growth. We would allow them to participate in soil prep, as our Virginia clay soils need to have organic materials thoroughly mixed in to improve the soil. We would also teach them more about native plants and why they are important for living creatures and our environment. We also want them to learn what those plants do for the world around them and what we need to do to care for them. We hope to plant right in front of our preschool parking area in a large green space (just off the sidewalk) so the children have easy access and observe their growth. This site is very visible to all traffic, both foot and vehicular, traveling along Maple Avenue in this area.
Our teachers have committed to building time with their children to visit the garden and help in the entire process of prepping the soil, planting, watering, etc. Our science teachers would take over helping them to note their observations including how these native plants are faring in the soil, how much rain we receive, growth measured, etc.