Aug 29th, 2019

Eco-Friendly Virginia Green Certification

At Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden we are committed to doing what we can to help the environment and our Virginia Green program is just a start. After all, our mission is education and our passion is connecting people through plants to improve communities, so it’s a natural fit to do all we can for the environment.  Our mission gives us the opportunity to lead the effort to demonstrate best practices in environmentally friendly actions and to encourage both our visitors and rental clients to do all that they can to help the earth too.

Virginia Green Virginia green logo

We try to be creative ways we can make a difference for the environment.  As a Virginia Green Travel Partner, of course, we recycle but we also use best practices for energy and water conservation. Did you know that 100 percent of the lights strung for Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights are low-energy LEDs? Our irrigation system uses ponds that collect rainwater to recycle to water our plants. But that’s just the start.

When it comes to foodservice and facility rental we partner with our caterer, Meriwether Godsey to create eco-friendly options for all of our rental clients — corporate, private, and wedding. Beyond recycling cardboard, paper, glass, plastic, and aluminum we recycle cooking oil into biofuel, and compost kitchen scraps and coffee grounds to help enrich the Garden’s soil.  Instead of bottled water, we use water dispensers and paper cups when possible.  And due to recent concerns about non-recycled plastic stir sticks and plastic straws, we’ve replaced them with hay straws and paper straws.

So, what does it take to be part of the Virginia Green Travel Alliance?

Core Requirements for Virginia Green Attractions:

  • Provide Recycling
  • Minimize Use of Disposables
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Water Conservation
  • Green Meetings & Conferences

Some of our rental clients may not even realize it but all of our events and weddings at Lewis Ginter are “green” events because of these environmental standards.  And we are always looking to provide rental clients with more options to go beyond the basic requirements of Virginia Green attractions. With our emphasis on sustainability, caterer Meriwether Godsey encourages food “stations” instead of buffets, build-a-plate options, using of locally grown food products, cocktails/mocktails with fresh herbs grown right here at Lewis Ginter. As a couple or event organizer, you make a difference just by choosing the Garden, an inherently beautiful location. Your guests can simply look around and take in all the beauty surrounding them requiring fewer decorations. Event organizers and couples can also expand on this them by planning a wedding with centerpieces of potted plants such as succulents that double as party favors after the event.

Committed to Sustainability

At Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden we’re trying to go beyond the Virginia Green requirements.  We are trying to change the way people think about their home landscaping and demonstrate how Regenerative Stormwater Conveyance and rain gardens can make a difference for both the local ecology and the health of the Chesapeake Bay. We know that there is always more we can do for the environment. But this is a start.  Let’s continue the conservation conversation. What are you doing at your home to help the environment?

Jonah Holland is Digital Content Manager at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, where she has worked for 14 years overseeing social media, the blog, and the website. She is also a mom, yogi, open water swimmer, gardener, and seeker. She's been known to go for a walk in the Garden and come back with hundreds of plant photos, completely inspired to write her next blog post.

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