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April Blossoms: Transforming Howard County one Tree at a Time

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Iris Background. Text: April Blossoms: Transforming Howard County One Tree at a Time

April was an exciting month of progress and growth with our crews diving into new projects. From planting native trees to installing conservation landscapes, our efforts have blossomed across the region. Join us as we dive into the transformative initiatives that have defined this vibrant month, and discover how our work is creating a greener, more sustainable future.


Metrics


April Metrics visualized

In April our UpLift and Senior crews:

  • Visited 26 project locations.

  • Planted 193 native trees and shrubs.

  • Installed 424 herbaceous plants.

  • Installed 450 sq ft of conservation landscaping.





Projects


Crew member laying on the ground next a large log
Crew member with a log they pulled out

Safe & Sound | Ellicott City

Our crew led a Safe & Sound event, removing 400 lbs of debris from one of the 56 flood-prone areas in Howard County. In addition to our annual Ellicott City Channel Maintenance, where we removed 1000 lbs of debris! This effort is part of our commitment to community and stormwater management, enhancing the safety and resilience of Ellicott City in collaboration with the Howard County Government.



Tree Planting | Biochar Project Phase 3 | Howard Community College


As part of our ongoing Biochar Project, Phase 3 continues the work begun under a Howard County Innovation Grant. This month, our team planted 100 bare-root trees and shrubs, including witch hazel, oaks, and viburnums, at Howard Community College.


Previously, we managed this forested area for invasive species such as autumn olive and Oriental bittersweet, which were converted into biochar earlier this year. This biochar was then added back to the forest during the planting as mulch to support water retention, increase soil organic matter, and enhance carbon sequestration. 


Learn more about this project in detail here.



BDA Project | Jim Duke’s Green Farmacy

Our team installed Beaver Dam Analogues (BDAs) at Jim Duke's Green Farmacy. Guided by Kip MumawKyle Ashmun, and Jordan Chambers from Ecosystem Services, this innovative project aims to slow, sink, and spread water, mimicking the natural work of beavers. Since the headwater stream is temporary, no permits were required, enhancing the transferability of this method. We used on-site materials such as cut bamboo to create the BDAs. Downstream, severe erosion with towering banks highlights the importance of this intervention. We look forward to monitoring and adjusting these structures as needed to ensure their effectiveness.


Housing Commission Tree Planting | Columbia

In collaboration with the Howard County Office of Community Sustainability, our team planted 73 trees at Columbia Landing Apartments. This initiative, led by Bill Mahoney, aimed to enhance the local environment and provide numerous ecological benefits to Howard County.


The trees planted include a diverse selection of native species such as Red Maple, Black Tupelo, Eastern Red Cedar, Witch Hazel, Eastern Redbud, Flowering Dogwood, American Holly, and Sweet Bay Magnolia. These varieties were chosen for their ability to thrive in the local climate and their contributions to biodiversity, air quality, and aesthetic value.


Tree Planting | Mt. St. Joseph High School | Baltimore

We collaborated with Mount St. Joseph High School to plant 14 trees as part of a student workshop in Conservation Landscaping. This initiative was funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust and provided an educational opportunity for students to learn about landscape architecture from Sherry Russell.



Residential Tree & Plant Installations | Howard County

Throughout Howard County, we installed 9 native trees and 424 herbaceous plants on multiple private residential properties. How can homeowners get native plants and conservation landscaping installed with EcoWorks? You can check out our landscaping services here.



Conservation Garden | Resurrection of St. Paul Church | Ellicott City

The Spring 2024 UpLift team kicked off their first conservation landscape project at the Resurrection of St. Paul School in Ellicott City. This initiative, funded by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, involves constructing two conservation gardens featuring native perennials, and totaling 625 square feet.



Tree Cleanup & Volunteers | Belmont Manor

In April, we partnered with the Department of Natural Resources for a productive workday at Belmont Manor. Volunteers and crew focused on cleaning up and maintaining an old tree planting site. Tasks included tidying up tree cages, removing old cages, and tackling invasive species. This collaboration highlighted the importance of maintaining and protecting our natural spaces.


Professional Development and Industry Exposure



Our workforce development program, UpLift, creates opportunities for growth in the green industry with certifications and training. In April the Uplift team completed the following:


  • CBLP-A Certificate!

  • Native Plant ID training.

  • Red Cross CPR / First Aid Certification

  • Professional Development Days with Operations Coordinator, Matt Hemler, covering: Time Management, Organization, and Communication, Resumes, and Cover Letters.

  • Networking: Informational Interview with Ecosystem Services LLC

  • Prince George County Rain Check Rebate Training Day 1. This program is geared towards landscape professionals wanting to know more about how to plan, design, construct, and maintain stormwater management practices.



Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary Visit

Our crews enjoyed a fantastic professional development day at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary. They were joined by fellow Climate Crew Network members, Grow Home, and Greater Baltimore Wilderness Coalition. Together, they undertook an environmental stewardship project, which involved removing grass, prepping soil, and mulching for a sunflower patch.


After lunch, the team explored a natural wildlife area. They monitored bluebird nest boxes and examined vernal pools, discovering a variety of life including tadpoles, worms, and other fascinating creatures.


We extend our heartfelt thanks to Jug Bay's Naturalist, Liana Vitali, for hosting us, and to Emily Morrow from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for providing these valuable green industry opportunities. These experiences allow our crews to learn and gain hands-on experience in environmental conservation.



Outward Bound Visit

Our Spring 2024 UpLift crew got to visit Outward Bound in Baltimore for a special day of team bonding. Special thanks to the Climate Crew Network and Emily Morrow from the  Maryland DNR for making this day happen, and Grow Home and the Greater Baltimore Wilderness Coalition for spending it with us.


Milestones, Media, and Merits



EcoWorks Anniversary 

We celebrate Andres Ovalle, for 3 years with Howard EcoWorks! We are incredibly grateful for his hard work and dedication to our organization and the wealth of knowledge he brings to the table. 


Tree Care Webinar

In April, Andres Ovalle, led a webinar on basic tree care and maintenance. You can view the video here.  




Earth Day Events | Outreach

April was an incredibly busy month for our organization and outreach. We attended the following:

  • Howard Community College GreenFest: Braving harsh winds we held down an information booth and native plant sales.

  • Springfest in Old Ellicott City: We hosted an information booth and native plant and pollinator coloring activity for children. 

  • Earth Day at Clarksville Commons: We hosted a native plant sale

  • Earth Day at Oakland Mills: We hosted an informational booth and a seed planting children's activity. 

  • Earth Day at Wilde Lake Community Association: We hosted an information booth and native plant and pollinator coloring activity for children. 

  • Matt Hemler, Project Coordinator, spoke at Oakland Mills High School about Green jobs and industry.

  • Lori Lilly, Executive Director, attended MPT’s production of the Chesapeake Bay Summit. She had the pleasure of meeting and sitting next to Martha Shimkin, the Bay Program’s Director.

  • Lori Lilly and Elura Morris, marketing, were supported by Allstate Foundation with a Flash Consulting Day that provided EcoWorks with valuable recommendations on our marketing initiatives - thank you Allstate!

  • Additionally, our native plant nursery, Seeds of Change, opened for the 2024 season!

CONCLUSION: 

April was an incredible month for Howard EcoWorks, marked by collaborative projects and community engagement. These efforts enhance local ecosystems and empower the next generation of environmental stewards. Here's to a greener, more sustainable future. Join us next time for May!


Extra Crew Photos



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