Landscape Restoration

Meadow Restoration
Meadow turf area with Filene Center in the background Meadow area with native tall grasses and plants with Filene Center in the background
Maintained turf summer 2011 NPS Photo
Established native meadow fall of 2013 NPS Photo

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts converted the formerly maintained turf (approximately one acre) at the "dimple" near the Filene Center's main gate in 2012. The main goal of the project was to "demonstrate that Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is serious about natural resource management and is willing to take bold steps to show that it is prepared to be a leader in the community as well as the National Park Service." The native garden creates habitat for insects, birds and other animals; reduces stormwater runoff; reduces carbon footprint and resource usage (no mow zone); provides educational opportunities for visitors; serves as a model for use of sustainable landscape techniques; and enhances the natural beauty of the park.


In celebration of Earth Day 2012, 21,000 landscape plugs (including 41 species of native forbs and grasses); 120 volunteers and employees planted the plugs over two days. The native meadow continues to be maintained by dedicated National Park Service staff and volunteers since the meadow’s installation. Watch a video of the garden’s creation and rationale from The Meadow Project.

The project started in spring 2012 and was completed with partners; The Wallace Genetic Foundation, The Meadow Project, Earth Sangha, the Natural Resources and Science (NRS) team, and other partners.

More information from one of our partners is available at Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens

Firefighters burn a meadow in front of the Filene Center entrance.
Firefighters safely and methodically burned the meadow.

NPS / Nathan King

Prescribed Fire - 2018

On Friday, April 6, 2018, NPS firefighters successfully completed a prescribed fire in the native meadow. The goals were to return nutrients to the soil, help native species’ seeds germinate, and control non-native plants such as stiltgrass.

The plan called for using the terrain and wind conditions to test how different types of fire would affect the meadow’s plants. Firefighters intentionally created slow-moving and fast-moving fires in different areas of the meadow. This method will allow park scientists to study the results of different types of fire and help the National Park Service make informed decisions in future actions.

Before and After Prescribed Fire 2018
Firefighters look at a meadow with dry grass and a path A firefighter inspects burned ground
Before Prescribed Fire (NPS / Nathan King)
After Prescribed Fire (NPS / Nathan King)

Map of the Native Meadow area and the plans to burn at different rates (slow/fast) dividing the area into quarter sections
Prescribed Fire Map


Objectives for the prescribed fire:

  • Reduce accumulated thatch layer of dead vegetation and the risk of future wildfire by establishing new growth which burns less intensely

  • Reduce competing non-native species and promote a healthier living space

  • Improve wildlife habitat by promoting new growth of nutrient rich plants

  • Promote germination and flourishing of a diverse mix of native and renewal of the meadow

  • Increase soil nutrient availability and improve the ecological quality of the native meadow by recycling dead vegetative material back to the soil

  • Enhance the appearance of the area

  • Control the encroachment of woody species which would otherwise overtake the meadow

Last updated: April 10, 2018

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1551 Trap Road
Vienna, VA 22182-1643


(703) 255-1800

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