A recent trend in landscape and gardening is creating a healthy micro-environment within the confines of the property. A micro-environment is a specific area within a landscape that differs in slight but measurable ways from the surrounding area. By noting differences in topography and exposure, and by eliminating non-native species of plants, a healthy and flourishing natural micro-environment can be created and easily maintained in most landscapes.
CAS-managed Woodcroft Community Association has formed the Woodcroft Ecological Friendly Landscape Committee (EFLC) with the help of resident Lynn Richardson. Richardson has been tending to her own micro-environments within Woodcroft for over twenty years, which feature mature native trees and understory plants, native wildflowers and naturally occurring plant species. She abides by the community covenants, which cite the need to “protect, maintain, and enhance the conservation of the neighborhood’s natural and scenic resources.”
Lynn teamed up with another Woodcroft resident, Leslie Fiddler, to co-chair the neighborhood’s Eco-Friendly Landscape Committee which was created by the Woodcroft HOA Board in 2019. Their mandate is to educate the residents about non-native, invasive species through bulletins and learning events, identify severe problem areas in the community, assist in planning for eradication projects utilizing volunteers and paid contractors, as well as planning landscape projects that incorporate native species that provide native habitat for native wildlife with focus on pollinators.
The EFLC presented a five-year plan that envisions a “landscape that reflects the Piedmont North Carolina’s ecological heritage.” As a result, in addition to the Board’s endorsement of the requirement that their landscaping company emphasize native species for future plantings, several residents have joined the EFLC to help remove non-native, invasive plantings around the community. This initiative at Woodcroft involves first removing invasive plants like the English Ivy and Japanese Stiltgrass. The work also involves reclaiming overgrown greenways, so that existing micro-environments can be re-vegetated by native plants suitable to those areas.
Woodcroft’s Eco-Friendly Landscape Committee’s work is an example of the effectiveness of the commitment to planting local in support of natural micro-environments, and also the benefit of using green initiatives to guide HOA policies and decisions. It demonstrates that any neighborhood can have a positive impact on native ecosystems by bringing neighbors together and educating residents.
The Woodcroft Community Association has over six miles of walking trails and is one of the oldest HOA’s in Durham. They currently have a $135,000 trail repaving project almost completed and are managed by T.R. O’Neill (CMCA , AMS), who is a licensed NC Real Estate broker and has been on the CAS-NC Regional Council for 2 years.