Woodend Sanctuary Volunteer Teams
Blair Native Plant Garden
Leader: Liz Jones
Schedule: Twice monthly on Friday mornings, March-November, in the garden. In the winter, occasional planning meetings and garden work sessions.
Mission: The team maintains the garden as a local resource for people interested in growing flora native to Maryland, to restore environmental balance and support native fauna.
- Garden work: planting, transplanting, weeding, staking, pruning. (Watering is limited to new plantings, as the garden has a sprinkler system.) Plants needing thinning may be moved to other locations within the Blair Garden or the Woodend property, or taken home by volunteers.
- Plant observation. Volunteers maintain a detailed log of plant growth phases, observing each garden species and noting whether leafing, flowering, or fruiting. This will become an informal data resource for local gardeners.
- Plant descriptions. Volunteers are developing fact sheets for each species planted in the garden, to be illustrated with
- Plant photos.
Leader: Irene Ingraham
Schedule: Second and fourth Thursday mornings, 9-12
Mission: The team maintains Woodend's trails to make them both user- and nature-friendly. Youth volunteers and Scouts often help.
- Repair the trail system behind the mansion, furthest from the roads and most difficult to maintain
- Clear debris
- Provide clear, updated signage
- Control runoff, for instance with ditches and planted edges
- Protect roots of trailside trees
Leader: Marilyn Leung
Schedule: First and third Mondays, 1-3 pm winter, 9-11 summer
Mission: The team removes invasive plants from the Sanctuary grounds, including the area directly across Jones Mill Road from the entrance. One recent focus has been on removal of alien vines, such as English ivy, porcelain berry, and Japanese honeysuckle. Another target is wineberry, an Asian raspberry bush that forms spiny thickets, displacing native species. The team has had much success, but there is still much to do.
Around the Grounds
Volunteers are working in several other areas at Woodend, in teams or small groups and alone.
Leader: Becky Cromwell
Mission: The team maintains the bird feeding station and plans to refurbish the bird blind and nesting boxes at the sanctuary.
Rain garden, runoff control demonstration plot.
Organic school garden. Staff contact: Jenny Brown.
Deer management. Leader: Pat Ratkowski. The team will monitor the deer population and environmental effect at Woodend of the Montgomery County deer cull in neighboring Rock Creek Park. Based on the results, volunteers will erect deer exclosures to protect plants and habitat and control erosion.
Stream restoration. Leader: Pat Ratkowski. This project must wait for streamside plants to regrow once the deer are under control.
Beginning bird walks. Staff contact: Pam Herrick. After a training session with naturalist Stephanie Mason, volunteers conduct the beginning bird walks held at Woodend every Saturday, 8-9 am (monthly in winter).