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Recycling board visits pollinator meadow at Shenandoah County landfill

Randi B. Hagi
Black-eyed susans growing at the Shenandoah County landfill in summer 2022.

An organization that's planting pollinator meadows on landfills has caught the attention of the Virginia Recycling Association. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

[people talking in background]

Randi B. Hagi
Sari Carp speaks to a congressional aide at the Shenandoah County landfill.

A small crowd clustered into a little house-turned-office in Edinburg on Tuesday, after touring the Shenandoah County Landfill. Eleven months ago, the organization Sustainability Matters seeded native wildflowers on a closed section of the landfill that had been capped off with clay and topsoil. This spring marks the second growing season for the site, which is part of the project "Making Trash Bloom."

SARI CARP: By May, some of them will be … just starting to bloom, and then the bloom season lasts pretty much through October, or can even handle a couple of very light frosts.

Sari Carp is the organization's executive director. Visiting the landfill on Tuesday were board members from the Virginia Recycling Association – a coalition dedicated to promoting waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and diversion.

Randi B. Hagi
Dan Ciesla, a board member for both the Virginia Recycling Association and Sustainability Matters, grabs lunch at Tuesday's event.

CARP: So to have their board of directors out here touring the project and learning what we're doing is phenomenal, because that's really the first step to leveling it up and spreading it beyond the three sites we're currently working on.

Dan Ciesla, who serves on the boards of both organizations, said this event was a way to introduce leaders in other localities to the concept.

DAN CIESLA: A lot of the old landfills that we find throughout the state are old municipal landfills that are owned by the government, and have been closed for a long, long time, and … the land's not being used for anything, so what a wonderful idea to use that barren land, for lack of a better term, to do something great with.

In the past year, Sustainability Matters has expanded the native meadow project to landfills in Rappahannock and Fairfax counties.

Randi B. Hagi first joined the WMRA team in 2019 as a freelance reporter. Her writing and photography have been featured in The Harrisonburg Citizen, where she previously served as the assistant editor; as well as The Mennonite; Mennonite World Review; and Eastern Mennonite University's Crossroads magazine.
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