Updated: Nov 8
As summer gives way to the crisp embrace of autumn, our unwavering dedication to environmental restoration continues to flourish. September unfolds as another chapter in our ongoing journey toward a greener, more sustainable future for Howard County. In this month's recap, we delve into the projects, professional growth, and moments of inspiration that have defined our path forward.
In September we Accomplished:
25 project sites visited
46 native trees/shrubs installed
565 native perennial plants installed
500 sqft of conservation landscaping installed
ClockTower Rain Garden & Tree Plantings
After tremendous hard work, overcoming natural obstacles and delays, our Crew completed Clocktower's newest Rain garden! The Rain Garden is nestled between townhouses and a sloped hillside. Designed for stormwater management, this deep excavation captures rainfall and prevents erosion and sediment from reaching storm drains, thus preserving the Chesapeake Bay's ecosystem. We've also planted numerous trees throughout the neighborhood, serving as living testaments to our commitment to environmental enhancement. Don't forget to read about last month's project, featuring a Clocktowers additional conservation landscape and the installation of natural stairs. This project was funded by Howard County Government Community Stormwater Grant.
Deering Woods Shallow Rain Garden
Deering Woods Community is an established relationship we’ve maintained over the years. Our crews do routine maintenance in existing rain gardens and conservation areas throughout the community. However, for September we excavated their newest Shallow Rain Garden, measuring around 250 sq ft. This garden will feature a mix of native perennials and shrubs, improving the habitat for animals while addressing drainage issues. This project was also funded by Howard County Government Community Stormwater Grant. Stay tune for our October Recap when we have the plants installed!
Glen Mar UMC Bayscape
Earlier this year, our crew planted native trees along the grounds of Glenmar UMC. This September, we expanded our efforts by installing a 350 sqft conservation landscape. This garden seamlessly extends from an existing garden toward the parking lot, boasting with native perennial plants. It not only offers a haven for pollinators but also plays a vital role in mitigating stormwater runoff.
Our collaboration with Interfaith Partners of the Chesapeake continues to flourish. They serve as a bridge between places of worship and organizations like ours, promoting collective environmental stewardship and enabling impactful initiatives that benefit our local communities. This project was funded by a Chesapeake Bay Trust grant.
Atholton High School
At Atholton High School, we initiated a transformative project that involved stabilizing two ponds with matting and tree plantings. Our planting strategy was meticulously designed to tackle stormwater management challenges. Native plants were strategically employed to treat water as it collects in the ponds, effectively filtering it through the soil profile.
At the base of each pond, a mix of native plants and shrubs offers year-round habitat and structure. Additionally, we've introduced trees like eastern red cedars and river birches, creating shaded gathering spaces for future outdoor classrooms, fostering both educational and habitat value. Its also noteworthy that our crews really enjoyed working with volunteers from the Green Team and Good Neighbor Club. This project was a collaboration between us, the Community Ecology Institute, and Coastal Resources Inc.
Professional Development and Industry Exposure
September was a truly exciting month for our crew. It brought an array of enriching experiences, from deep dives into the green industry to essential training sessions, as well as memorable team-building exercises. Check out what happened:
Red Cross First Aid & CPR Training for our Team Leaders
Professional Development Day with team building & learning Communications
Industry Exposure with Bill Mahoney
Bill Mahoney, a Sustainability Project Manager with Howard County, paid us a visit to talk about environmental initiatives for the county. We discussed in great lengths about the county’s goals with energy reduction which can be found with Live Green Howard, a Climate Action Plan, and the county’s Green Infrastructure Network. A key project was outlined which are hubs and corridors to connect green spaces to increase genetic biodiversity, increase survival resilience, and to reintroduce natural predators and possums for population control. He also spoke of successful projects such as the Bloede Dam Removal, which brought back key species. Our crew asked Bill many questions about invasive removal, recycling, and ingenuitive waste management practices. It was an insightful discussion, and gave our crew an opportunity to understand the role we play in Howard County’s environmental goals.
A Day with Outward Bound
Our day with Outward Bound was nothing short of extraordinary, an exhilarating adventure into the heart of nature. Outward Bound is known for its transformative learning expeditions, and it certainly lived up to that reputation. The day was a captivating blend of team-building challenges, creative problem-solving, and unique communication hurdles, all conspiring to bring us closer. From mastering obstacle courses to building trust and conquering heights, we discovered the unparalleled strength that unity and nature's classroom can offer. Special thanks to Outward Bound of the Chesapeake, and Emily Morrow from Maryland Department of Natural Resources for putting this day together.
Industry Exposure: Tour of Shepherds Mill Community Solar Farm
Our tour of the Shepards Mill Community Solar Farm was an eye-opening experience that explored maintenance, recyclability, and power distribution of solar panels. We examined the farm's financial scalability and its impact on local communities, discussing technological advancements for cost-effective construction, and the barriers to expansion. Our tour also uncovered the daily tasks of the dedicated workers, which include tending to both the solar panels and the eco-friendly, grass-munching sheep.
Spring & Summer Uplift Cohort’s Final Day & Graduation
The Spring Uplift Cohort of 2023 brought dedication, enthusiasm, and significant achievements to Howard EcoWorks during their transformative journey. Their impact was tangible, with numerous projects completed, certifications earned, and personal growth experienced. But sadly we had to say goodbye to this wonderful team, and celebrated their achievements at the end of the month. As they embark on new adventures, we're confident that they will continue to carry the skills and spirit they developed with us, spreading their positive influence far and wide. Read more about them and their success here.
This month, we've accomplished numerous projects, expanding our initiatives, and fostering collaborations. Alongside our projects, we've prioritized professional growth through training, team-building activities, and industry exposure. Join us next month for a recap of October!