All gardens and restorations projects are constantly evolving. It doesn’t matter where you start, only where youʼre headed. The goal of Green Evolution Site is to foster a movement toward restoring landscapes. As you make more productive use of your land in organic food production or incorporate more native plants with all their inherent ecosystem services, into your project, reduce invasive species, and generally begin to work more closely with nature, you can trumpet your progress here and on your Green Evolution Site sign.
Find the level that best describes the current state of your project–from balcony pots to acreages–and start there. Gardens and restorations will change over time…from spring to summer and from year to year. Green Evolution Site allows you to track that transformation and to show others how far youʼve come. It is not necessary to follow each step as listed nor to reach the top level…follow your own path to a more natural and productive property that fits your needs while still supporting the natural world.
While ultimately you know your site best, if you do have any trouble determining which Evolution level is appropriate for your landscape, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and weʼll do our best to guide you.
The primary areas that Green Evolution Siteʼs address are:
- Inclusion of locally native species &/or non-invasive organic food crops.
- Reduction of locally invasive species and other non-native species, including turf grass, that have the potential to become invasive.
- Increasing the area of permeable surfaces (eg. reducing non-permeable areas such as paved driveways/walkways) to increase groundwater recharge and decrease runoff.
- Elimination of the use of chemical additives (eg. fertilizers, pesticides, other inorganic soil enhancers)
- Minimizing the use of treated water.
• T1 Many gardens begin as either blank slates of lawn or with very traditional landscapes containing few if any native plants or edibles. Some properties in this category have an excess amount of hard-scaping, limiting potential plantings and reducing groundwater recharge potential.
Certification at this level is an announcement of being willing to change but perhaps not yet having begun.
• T2 These projects are beginning to incorporate native plants or non-invasive food crops, but these are still fewer than 20% of the total planting area.
• T3 The use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides has been substantially reduced and the use of treated water is monitored and controlled.
• A1 Chemicals use is severely restricted in the total yard. Food crops account for 25% of the planting area.
• A2 Chemical use is eliminated. Food crops account for 50% or more of the planting area.
• A3 Food crops account for over 50% of the planting area, with other areas devoted to pollinator habitat. Extra credit for growing heritage varieties of crops and/or native plants for pollinators. Turf is restricted to pathways only.
• N1 Areas devoted to turf grass are significantly reduced. The use of chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers, has been eliminated. Native plants account for at least 30% of the planted area. Invasive species are being actively eliminated.
• N2 Treated water is not used on garden areas except for new plantings.
• N3 Native plants now account for at least 60% of planted areas.
• E1 Native plants now account for at least 75% of the planted area. Invasive species have been virtually eliminated, with new invasions tackled as they occur.
• E2 Native plants account for at least 95% of the planted area. Impermeable areas have been minimized. Runoff is controlled within the property.
• E3 Congratulations on achieving a completely natural, chemical-free landscape that provides habitat for a wide range of wildlife.
- Native Plants: those species that evolved naturally in the area rather than being imported from other regions. These plants play a role within local ecosystems.
- Invasive species: Species that originated elsewhere and which exhibit tendencies of spreading rapidly, often out competing or damaging native populations.
- Naturalized: plant species that likely arrived from elsewhere and spread rapidly…a term that often means that species is or has the potential to become invasive. When used in describing a landscape, however, naturalized can mean that the property is breaking away from 20th century landscaping norms and attempting to mimic natural settings.
- Treated water: Chemically treating and transporting water from municipally operated water treatment plants uses a tremendous amount of electricity. Once established, native species planted in the right place should not require supplemental watering.
- Natural: On the Registration Form, “Natural” type projects are those where the property is substantially unaltered from its wild state. Some restoration/conservation activity to maintain that status is permissible.
- Container: Most of the plantings are done in containers rather than directly into soil. Raised beds, where there is contact with underlying soil are not considered containers, but you may want to mention your gardening style within your project description.