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May Milestones: A Chronicle in Conservation

Updated: Jul 2

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Join us for the month of May as we continue our environmental projects throughout the region. Journey with us as we collaborate with schools, transform historical grounds, and visit with many green infrastructure leaders. 


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This month our crews completed the following:

  • Planted 159 Native Trees & Shrubs

  • Installed 1,610 Native Perennials

  • Visited 36 Project Locations

  • Installed 2,862 sq ft of Conservation Landscaping


Serenity Ridge Tree Planting | Windsor Mill

The Uplift team planted 113 native trees at Serenity Ridge Cemetery. This was a continuation of a project we started back in the Fall of 2023 when we planted 112 trees with the help of our collaborators in the Climate Corps: Chesapeake Conservancy, Greater Baltimore Wilderness Coalition, and Grow Home. This project was supported by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Serenity Ridge is a natural burial and arboretum, sharing environmental values that made the site perfect for installing such a large tree project.

Bellows Springs Elementary School | Ellicott Mills

Our crews collaborated with passionate students from Bellows Spring Elementary School this month. Our team built two garden beds at the school totaling 450 sq ft, and guided the young volunteers who planted native perennials. The plants featured in this garden include one Red Maple Tree, Smooth Blue Aster, Emerald Pink Creeping Phlox, Suwannee Blue-eyed Grass, Bluestem Goldenrod, Lanceleaf Coreopsis, and more! This project was funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

St. Paul’s Cemetery | Ellicott City

We targeted an eroded hillside at the historic St. Paul’s Cemetery in Ellicott City. Our team installed an 187 sq ft garden, planting 132 native perennials, and 6 native shrubs. However, our involvement with St. Paul’s began earlier in November 2023. During that time we planted 18 trees with the help of a grant from Howard County Government in partnership with the Ellicott City Partnership 

First Evangelical Lutheran Tree Planting | Ellicott City

We planted 10 native trees and shrubs at First Evangelical Lutheran Church located in Ellicott City. This project was funded by the Urban Trees Grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Plants featured include American Hazelnut, American Plum, American Hornbeam, Eastern Redbud, & Florida Dogwood.

Waterbury Bioretention Planting | Columbia

Our Crews planted 21 native perennials in a bioretention garden that is part of the Waterbury Community in Columbia, MD. Plants featured are Broomsedge, Joe Pye Weed, Blue Flag Iris, Switchgrass, & Cardinal Flower. These plants will soak up stormwater runoff while providing habitat for native pollinators. This work was funded by a Howard County Community Stormwater Grant.

Safe And Sound | Ellicott City

Our crew led a Safe & Sound event, removing 580 lbs of debris from one of the 56 flood-prone areas in Howard County. 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.

Professional Development and Industry Exposure

Jim Duke’s Green Farmacy | Fulton

The Uplift crew visited Jim Duke’s Farmacy where they learned about medicinal gardens. The crew got to enjoy multiple activities such as an educational tour, including collecting herbs for tea during lunch. Afterward, they contributed to the grounds by installing native perennials in the forested area.

PG County Rain Check Program Part 2

The second part of the Prince George’s County Rain Check Rebate Program training was completed in May. The team got to explore natural solutions for stormwater management. In this program they have learned about green infrastructure, rain gardens, permeable pavement, and more. This training is not only beneficial for UpLift, Ecoworks also serves as an approved contractor in PG County for these types of projects. 

Neighborhood Design Center

Uplift got a visit from the Neighborhood Design Center, who taught them about architectural landscaping and design within the framework of environmental solutions to stormwater management. This opportunity was made possible by the Climate Corps group run by Emily Morrow of the Maryland DNR and AshleyTraut at the Greater Baltimore Wilderness.

Professional Development Day | Matt Hemler

Our Projects Coordinator, Matt Helmer, led the team on a professional development day exploring job searching and valuable networking skills. 

Milestones, Media, and Merits

Samantha Lewis portrait. Featuring a light skinned woman with brown short hair smiling wearing a black shirt

EcoWorks Anniversary 

We celebrate the first year anniversary of our Office Manager, Samantha Lewis. We are incredibly grateful for her professionalism and her dedication to our organization. 

Meeting with the Chesapeake Bay Program Director

We had the pleasure of hosting Martha Shimkin, Director of the Chesapeake Bay Program, and Sarah Brzezinski, Environmental Protection Specialist. We met at St. Peter’s Church in Ellicott City, where we installed a conservation landscape funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Additionally, we were visited by Timothy P. Lattimer and Bill Mahoney from the Howard County Government Office of Sustainability. 

With this meeting we got to highlight our nonprofit partnership with Howard County Government as a model for the Chesapeake Bay, supporting stormwater management and stream restoration maintenance, while facilitating pathways into green jobs. Additionally, crew members got to tell their stories and network with our guests. 

Kill Your Lawn Premiere | Ellicott City

"Kill Your Lawn," created by Joey Santore, Al Scorch, and Empty Quarter Studios, humorously documents their quest to replace lawns with native gardens for environmental benefits. In October 2023, they spotlighted Howard EcoWorks and St. Peter’s Episcopal in Maryland, where crews transformed 1,700 sq ft of turf into a native plant conservation landscape.

By May 2024, the episode featuring this project was launched amidst community festivities, including speeches by Lori Lilly, EcoWorks' founder & director, and Rev. Dina Van Klaveren, Canon for Development and Stewardship-Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. The event culminated in a lighthearted lawn eulogy and biochar spreading, followed by a screening of the episode, available in Season 2 on EarthX TV. View the full gallery and description of past events here

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Employer Round Table 

Our founder and director, Lori Lilly, as well as Matt Hemler, projects coordinator, attended the Green Initiatives & Careers Collaborative Round Table. The event was hosted by the Climate Crew Network, led by the Greater Baltimore Wilderness Coalition, Lori Lilly, and Ernestine Chambers from Upskill Etc. This roundtable brought together nonprofits, employers, and government organizations to build a stronger pipeline for green jobs in Maryland. 


  • Elura Morris, marketing | communications | outreach coordinator hosted a table at the Oakland Mills Interfaith Center Spring Fling hosted by the Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake.

  • Matt Hemler, projects coordinator, hosted a table for America Works, a resource fair put on by Howard County Social Services. 

  • Matt Hemler also tabled at the Maryland Conservation Corps Career Fair this month.


As we wrap up an action-packed May, we are proud of the strides we've made in environmental stewardship and community collaboration. From revitalizing landscapes with native flora to educating future generations about sustainability, our efforts are not just about conservation, they're about creating lasting impacts. With every project and partnership, we're paving the way for a greener, healthier future for all. Join us next time in June! 

Enjoy the extra photos from our crews and staff!

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