Two Garden Club of America (GCA) members, Lyn Flyn and Meredith Hanna from the Adirondack Garden Club, recently attended a conference and lobbying day with a focus on advocacy training in Washington, DC.
The first day of the conference was spent learning how to advocate by working with representatives for legislation that supports the environment. The second day they learned about the proposed bills in Congress that the GCA is advocating for and listened to scientific experts highlighting environmental threats, including the importance of those bills in protecting the environment.
The Garden Club of America, founded in 1913, is widely known for its beautiful landscapes and flower shows but it also has had a long history in conservation. Part of its mission statement is “to restore, improve and protect the quality of the environment through educational programs and action in the fields of conservation and civic improvement”. Since the 1930s GCA has promoted the preservation of the California redwoods.
The GCA is a volunteer organization comprised of 200 clubs and approximately 18,000 members throughout the country. One of these clubs is the Adirondack Garden Club, drawing members from various communities in the Adirondacks.
Among the bills that the GCA were advocating on behalf of were:
The Land and Water Conservation Fund which was passed overwhelmingly in both the House and the Senate. This bill permanently reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund and thus protects millions of acres of land and miles of wild rivers and as well establishes four new monuments.
The Botany Bill encourages the use of native plants in restoration of federal land projects and the hiring of more botanists in federal agencies to help combat invasive species and to improve water quality. Currently there is only one botanist for every 4 million acres of federal land.
Reviving America Scenic Byways bill which has passed in the House revives the dormant National Scenic Byways program designating roadways for protection, limiting billboards and creating scenic corridors.
A fourth bill, Restoring our Parks Act would provide funds to address the backlog of maintenance for roads, trails, visitor centers and basic infrastructure which has been neglected and underfunded in our National Parks.
Photo of Meredith Hanna, Representative Elise Stefanik, and Lyn Flyn at NAL 2019 provided.