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EcoWorks in Action: June's Environmental Achievements



Join us for the month of June as we continue our conservation and restoration efforts throughout Howard County and beyond. We have exciting projects ranging from gardens, to tree plantings, and massive invasive plant clean-ups. Additionally, we’ve onboarded several new crews and members! 


Metrics


Visual representation of the June Metrics with a green background.

For the month of June, our team completed the following:


  • Visited 24 project sites.

  • Planted 112 native trees and shrubs.

  • Planted 571 native perennials, such as flowers and grasses.

  • Installed a total of 750 sq ft of conservation landscaping.



Projects



Stonebrook HOA Conservation Landscape | Columbia

Throughout June our crews completed a conservation landscape in the Stonebrook HOA Community. This project spans 750 sq ft, and it included the installation of 576 native plants! You might not remember, but we've visited this community before, having planted 30 native trees in the Fall of 2023. Thank you to Howard County for funding this project through a Community Stormwater Partnership grant!




MSJ Conservation Landscape | Baltimore

Our READY and Uplift crews began a project at Mount Saint Joseph High School with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The team started with clearing invasives and grass over a 1750 sq feet area for a future garden that will hold 500 perennials and 37 native trees and shrubs when finished. This is part of an ongoing conservation project and workshop with volunteers from the high school. Stay tuned with us for our July update on the completed project!



Riverchase Condos Tree Planting | Columbia

Our crew worked on a tree-planting project in the Riverchase Condos community. They planted 35 trees, species including Swamp White Oak, Northern Red Oak, Willow Oak, Single Oak, Eastern Redbud, Red Maple, Serviceberry, River Birch, and American Basswood. This project was funded by Chesapeake Bay Trust.



UMB Tree Planting | Baltimore

We planted 14 trees at UMB, University of Maryland, Baltimore. Additionally, this was the first tree planting project for our Summer READY crew. The trees planted include Eastern Redbud, Hornbeam, Serviceberry, and Sweetbay Magnolia. This project was funded by a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust.



Adelaide Bentley Park | Towson

Our crews removed invasive plants from the understory and base of mature trees from Adelaide Bentley Park in Towson. The goal is to keep these forests healthy so they can grow with ease. You can learn more about our woodland management service here



Ridgely Manor Park | Towson 

Our teams have been visiting Ridgely Manor Park in Towson, MD for an invasive plant removal project. They focused on removing invasive vines and vegetation such as Porcelain Berry, English Ivy, Honeysuckle, Bindweed, and mile-a-minute. They also pulled large invasive bushes such as multiflora rose and wineberry. The goal of this project is to clear the overgrowth as part of a meadow management plan.


Both Ridgely Manor Park and Adelaide Bentley Park are managed by Neighbor Space of Baltimore County, a non-profit that works with local communities to protect open spaces to improve stormwater treatment, stream buffers, and neighborhood value. Stay tuned with us in July for more updates!  


Professional Development and Industry Exposure

 

BMP Assessment | Matt Hemler

Matt Hemler, our projects coordinator, trained the Uplift team on how to perform BMP Assessments. BMP stands for Best Management Practices, and in the context of stormwater management, this can include techniques and structures used to improve water runoff, such as rain gardens. The assessment consists of learning how to inspect stormwater practices to evaluate performance and checking for needed repairs. 

EcoWorks Gathering

Our staff and crews had an opportunity to gather at the home of our director and founder, Lori Lilly, for a day of learning and engagement. Some activities included practicing identification for native plants, practicing native plant design skills, and more!



Ready Onboarding

This month marks the onboarding of our READY team. We would like to introduce our crew members Arabella, Axel, Bryon, Christopher, Ellen, Gillian, Hunter, Rae, and Sofia.


READY is our summer green career exploration program. These crews will work on conservation landscaping and tree plantings while learning about green industry initiatives. So far they have completed various training sessions for their onboarding process:




EcoAmbassadors Onboarding

In June we also started the EcoAmbassadors program. EcoAmbassadors are high school students who work with their local communities to address environmental concerns by implementing projects, participating in cleanups, and leading community members to promote sustainable change in Howard County. Please welcome our 2024 EcoAmbassadors:



Milestones, Media, and Merits



Annual Soak It Up

On June 4th, 2024 we celebrated our annual Soak It Up! fundraiser at the Main Street Ballroom in Ellicott City. We were joined by Howard County Executive, Calvin Ball, Senator Guy Guzzone, Howard County Council Members: Deb Jung, and David Yungmann. This event was a huge success with amazing support from our sponsors, board members, donors, attendees, and staff. The primary focus of this year's fundraiser pushed us closer to the purchase of a new property in Glenwood that will transform the future of EcoWorks. To learn more about this event and view the gallery click here



Master Gardeners Visit Seeds of Change

This month we had Anne Arundel County Master Gardeners visit our native plant nursery, Seeds of Change. Located behind the Howard County Detention Center, we highlighted the program we have with the inmates and our retail plant sales that we use to support the program. Participants got to learn with Lori Lilly, and Ryan Briese, the nursery manager. 

 

Welcome New Members 


A woman with brown hair in a ponytail in a blue shirt, smiling at the camera. Zsuzsanna, natural resource specialist working at Howard EcoWorks

Zsuzsanna: We welcome our new Natural Resource Specialist, Zsuzsanna Cooke. Zsuzsanna has gained six years of experience in the green industry. With a bachelor's degree in biology, concentrating in ecology and evolution, Zsuzsanna has maintained bioretentions and inspected several thousand trees throughout Maryland. We are so excited to have Zsuzsanna with us and to help with our operations and training.


A young girl smiling at the camera. Rhea, marketing assistant intern at Howard EcoWorks

Rhéa: We welcome our new Marketing Assistant Intern, Rhéa René. She graduated from Mount Hebron High School in 2022 and is currently a student at the University of Baltimore (Junior) studying marketing with a minor in psych. We're so excited to have her on board where she will help us with marketing, outreach, graphic design, and more.



Outreach



Pollinator Fest: Our outreach coordinator, Elura Morris, with supporting UpLift crew members, Alexander Andrews, Aramah Johnson, and EcoAmbassadors attended Pollinator Fest, hosted by Howard County Conservancy. Not only did our team enjoy educating and hosting fun pollinator related activities, but it was a great chance for the supporting crew to get outreach experience.    


Lori Lilly, founder and director of EcoWorks at a table

Howard County Executive & STEM Awards: Joining Howard County Executive, Calvin Ball, was Lori Lilly at the STEM Awards, as they honor HCPSS students with excellence and achievements in STEM.



Innovation Summit: On June 6th, Lori Lilly attended the Innovation Summit hosted by County Executive Calvin Ball and other industry leaders. This event emphasized creativity and collaboration with keynote speakers, learning sessions, and networking. 


CONCLUSION: 

As we wrap up June, we celebrate our conservation achievements and community engagement. From planting native species to removing invasive plants, our efforts are making a lasting impact. Thank you for your continued support, and join us in July as we continue our journey towards a greener, more sustainable future!


Enjoy these extra photos taken by our crew and staff!