Asbury Methodist Village | Caring for Habitat and Promoting Wellness at a Retirement Community

Asbury Methodist Village

Asbury Methodist Village, first certified by WHC in 2009, is a non-profit continuing care retirement community for over 1,400 residents in Montgomery County, Maryland. The facility encompasses 130 acres of wooded habitat, landscaped areas, and ponds, as well as numerous buildings and parking lots. Residents and additional caretakers actively manage the site to ensure that the community can provide sustainable habitats for local wildlife.

Both employees and residents of the retirement community contribute to conservation activities at Asbury Methodist Village.

Along the eastern edge of the property lies a 17-acre wooded area designated as a nature preserve. Invasive species such as phragmites, garlic mustard, mile-a-minute vine, English ivy, and oriental bittersweet are controlled in this area, but vegetation is otherwise allowed to grow virtually undisturbed to promote the growth of trees and shrubs. A plethora of native species can be found in this part of the site, including white-tailed deer, foxes, eastern bluebirds, waterfowl and pollinators. More than 100 trees in the preserve have been identified and labeled to help residents and employees learn how to identify the different species on site, a project that was started by local Boy Scouts and continued by residents and the site’s landscaping services.

As part of a project to maintain and develop the campus as an Arboretum, a Tree Trail was established around the two ponds located in the preserve. The trail fosters residents’ appreciation of the preserve as it allows them to enjoy the outdoors and participate in activities that encourage exercise and promote good mental health. Residents often enjoy wildlife tracking and bird watching, with over 80 bird species observed on site so far. The preserve invites residents to spend time outside, walking on the paths, sitting on the benches, gazing at the picturesque lake, socializing with friends or just escaping the hustle and bustle of the area. Acclaimed National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore even called the community “a rural oasis in an urban setting.”

In addition to the nature preserve, team members created four landscaped areas that provide habitat for pollinators like butterflies, bees and hummingbirds, all of which are vital parts of the local ecosystem. These pollinator gardens provide residents the opportunity to garden, caring for and monitoring them with the support of employees and the site’s contracted landscaping service.

Asbury Methodist Village provides conservation education opportunities for employees and residents. Regular articles in the campus newspaper, Village Life, and presentations on the campus television station depict ways to become involved with conservation activities on the campus. The administration also wishes to improve upon a series of speakers focused on topics revolving around environmental education and conservation.

Asbury Methodist Village’s commitment to conservation education extends to the broader community through outreach to local schools. Asbury Methodist Village established the Gaithersburg Beloved Community Initiative, through which residents introduced wildlife photography to students at Montgomery County schools in order to help foster an appreciation for nature. Rob Liebrich, Executive Director of Asbury Methodist Village, understands the value of such outreach initiatives, remarking, “The ability to use our wildlife habitat to support the start of a lifelong interest in nature is a generational gift.”

Asbury Methodist Village understands that these projects benefit not only the local flora and fauna, but the residents and surrounding community as well. The facility has also been recognized for its efforts, both through achievement of WHC Conservation Certification and as a proud recipient of the City of Gaithersburg 2017 Environmental Award for innovative, sustainable green practices.

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Quick Facts

Site Name:Asbury Methodist Village
Categories:Awareness and Community Engagement, Invasive Species, Landscaping, Pollinators
Company Name:Asbury Methodist Village
Site Location:Gaithersburg, Maryland
Partners:ArbNet, Boy Scouts, BrightView Landscapes LLC
Certification Since:2009
WHC Index Link:Search for project

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