Sag Harbor — Have you ever looked at your ­backyard and wondered, “Is my garden helping or hurting the Earth?” If this question has never crossed your mind, The Church encourages you to attend Two Thirds for the Birds – an initiative launched by landscape designer and environmental activist Edwina von Gal and her nonprofit organization Perfect Earth Project. The campaign aims to restore viable habitats within the human dominated landscape ergo our pesticide filled, overly groomed gardens. The Earth is facing a massive loss of biodiversity, a good example being birds which have experienced a population decrease of about 3 billion since the 1970’s. The clever title speaks to the campaigns most viable piece of advice, “For every three plants you plant, make two of them native.” Edwina will lead a lecture detailing the campaign and explain how a healthy landscape leads to healthier birds and, ultimately, a healthier world. These “helping” gardens not only enrich the lives of birds but the lives of people too. A native landscape is more unique than the typical sterile product that we often see, and it’ll feel good to know your garden is actively helping to reverse climate change and the loss of biodiversity.



Principal of her eponymous landscape design firm since 1984, Edwina von Gal creates landscapes with a focus on simplicity and sustainability for private and public clients around the world. She has collaborated with noted architects such as Maya Lin, Frank Gehry, Annabelle Selldorf, and Toshiko Mori, and on projects for Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Richard Serra, Larry Gagosian, Robert De Niro, and Jann Wenner, as well as many others in the environmental, design, and art communities. Her book Fresh Cuts won the Quill and Trowel award for garden writing.  In 2008, while designing the park for The Biomuseo Panama, she founded the Azuero Earth Project, promoting native species reforestation on Panama’s Azuero Peninsula, perhaps the first of its kind to work without synthetic chemicals. In 2013, she created the Perfect Earth Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising consciousness about the dangers of toxic lawn and garden chemicals, and the importance of planting native species, to protect the health of people, their pets, and the planet.  In 2021, she launched a new initiative, Two Thirds for the Birds. She is currently converting her own property, Marshouse, into a laboratory and teaching center for Whole and Healthy landscape practices. Edwina received the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art’s Arthur Ross Award in 2012 and is the 2017 recipient of Guild Hall’s Academy of the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award for the Visual Arts. In 2018 she received the NY School of Interior Design’s Green Design Award and The Isamu Noguchi Award, as well as the Conservator Award from Quogue Wildlife Refuge in 2020. She lectures regularly about nature-based landscape solutions. 


Housed in a deconsecrated 19th century Methodist church, The Church is an artist residency, exhibition space, and creativity center. It is a place where local and national artists and creatives of all stripes work, meet and inspire each other. Artists Eric Fischl and April Gornik bought the building as a shell three years ago and have led its redesign with Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership. The modern interior complements its historic frame and is emblematic of the contemporary program of events that animate the structure. The Church will increase access to the arts for our diverse audiences, foster creativity on the East End, and honor Sag Harbor’s long tradition as a maker’s village. For more information visit: www.thechurchsagharbor.org.  


Photo by Edwina von Gal


AAQ / Resource: Riverhead Toyota