By Mary Reid Barrow, Photos by Terri Gorman
Green Run resident Terri Walsh’s first effort to turn her home into an environmental oasis was to do the right things for the critters and have her yard certified as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Foundation.
That was almost four decades ago, and you should see Terri’s Amberley Forest yard now!
Not only do the critters have a safe-haven, but her home is a showcase for many other environmental improvements that save energy and water and prevent flooding.
Recently, Terri was recognized as LRNow’s Pearl Home of the Quarter by Pearl Home Coordinator Terri Gorman.
“Terri is an innovative leader with her environmental practices not only at home but in the community,” Terri Gorman said. “She’s a good example of what we all should be.”
When you visit, you first see a butterfly garden abloom with black-eyed Susans, blue mist flowers and more out front, and round back too. The abundance of flowers belies all the other efforts going on.
Look down and you will notice that the driveway is not a typical concrete driveway but is made of permeable pavers. Pavers allow rainwater to seep in between the seams rather than run off into the streets and storm drains. The paths to her front porch and around back are made with pavers too.
Look up and you will see solar panels on her roof. “I put solar panels up in 2019,” Terri said. “I haven’t paid a bill in two and a half years.”
You also will see a number of rain barrels that collect water from her roof gutters around the back and side of her house. She waters her flowers from the barrels rather than using city water.
Terri, a master of repurposing, built the rain barrels from used car wash detergent containers. Now, she is building a fence between her and her daughter’s yard with used shipping pallets and plans to fill the pallet tops with plants.
An infiltration trench, pretty with white rocks, runs along one side of her back porch. Her home is in a low spot between two houses, and she had a lot of standing water. The trench, along with rain barrels at the gutters, has taken care of the water issue, Terri said.
Inside, her porch had become a grand black swallowtail butterfly nursery. Pots of parsley were all around and caterpillars of all sizes were feeding, and chrysalises were hanging in various places.
A newly hatched butterfly perched on the screen drying its wings, almost ready for Terri to release it.
Terri has not only made her home an environmental showcase, but as an administrative aide at St. Andrews Methodist Church, she has spearheaded the congregation’s environmental efforts. One of them, saving plastic, 6,000 pounds of it, has already yielded seven Trex benches and LRNow is a lucky recipient of one of them!
The other day, as we talked in Terri’s yard, a beautiful fritillary butterfly paid a surprise visit to lay eggs on a passionflower vine growing on the shed.
“It’s taken years getting here,” Terri said, looking around. “This is definitely mental health to me.”