Updated: Dec 16, 2022
And with that the 2022 season comes to a close... We want to thank everyone who has supported us this past year, we couldn't have made such an impact without you!
We started the year off with our 3rd annual Watershed Makeover! During this event volunteers and our EcoAmbassadors removed over 4,430 pounds of trash, as well as invasive vines from 6 various locations throughout Howard County.
We kicked off our first of many native plant sales this year at Howard County's Green Fest at Howard Community College. Our native plants are grown at the Seeds of Change nursery which is located at the Howard County Department of Corrections. In-mates volunteer in the nursery and receive reduced sentences in exchange for their service - under this program 30 prisoner days were avoided in 2022!
Our very own Executive Director, Lori Lilly was honored by the Women's Giving Circle of Howard County!
In April we held our Alternative Spring Break program where volunteers cleaned up a county forest conservation site, worked at our Seeds of Change nursery, helped with maintenance at one of our rain garden sites, and assisted with forest management.
Celebrating Earth Day, we held our annual Biochar Burn at the Community Ecology Institute in Columbia. Here we turned donated Christmas trees from 2021 into biochar!
Many people joined our team this year - crew members, crew leaders, various other staff and board members alike. Kris Althouse and Kevin McAliley joined our board as Co-Chairs after the legacy left by Bill Withers and Dick Hesse. Bryan Booth joined us as Vice Chair of the board. Don Mohanlal joined the board as Secretary. Augusto Martinez-Orrantia stepped up as Treasurer. Ran Zhang and Jamie Fraser joined the board team. On staff, Nick Lovett was promoted from Crew Leader to Landscape Foreman and, at the end of 2022, Andrés Ovalle was promoted from part-time Nursery Manager to full-time Conservation and Restoration Director! Thank you to all our Board and staff for all you do!
Our READY program kicked off it's 10th season in 2022! Here are some crew captures and our amazing team members hard at work.
We received several grants this year, including an Innovation Grant from the Howard County Government to support biochar research, a community grant from the Community Foundation of Howard County, two grants from the Chesapeake Bay Trust and a Small Watershed Grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The latter three all have a specific focus of Making Urban Lands, Working Lands and a target of tree planting and native garden installations in urban under-served communities in the region.
In July we celebrated our donors from our 2021 summer conservation landscaping project at Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods where we planted over 7,000 native plants. Thank you, Inner Arbor Trust, for hosting the event that showcased the wonderful partnerships supporting green jobs and a healthy environment in downtown Columbia!
Every year during READY we take crews out to experience the world of electrofishing.
Electrofishing uses an electric field emitted from a pulser to temporarily stun fish to be collected for identification.
The fish are then released back into the wild. Biologists use the data to determine the health of our local waterways.
Thank you Montgomery Parks for supporting this learning opportunity for our teams!
Can you believe it's been 10 years of the Baltimore Community Tool Bank?! We celebrated this achievement of our community partner at Checkerspot Brewing Company in August. Big shoutout also to Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, where the READY journey began in 2012. We are busy planning another exciting year of this program and looking forward to READY 2023!
We had a blast soaking up the late summer sun in Ellicott City for Main St. Music Festival in September! Thank you to everyone who stopped by–a special shout out to Senator Katie Fry Hester, Maryland Senate D9 for creating seed bombs, which are a mix of native wildflower and grass seeds that pollinators love.