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Rooted in Impact: A November of Community Works and Environmental Milestones

Updated: Mar 6

Rooted in Impact: a november of community works and environmental milestones. With a semi blurred fall background

November was an eventful month at Howard EcoWorks, filled with impactful projects and professional growth. From transforming landscapes, tree planting, and elevating our team's expertise, our journey unfolded with purpose and dedication. Join us as we recap the highlights of November, celebrating the positive changes we've fostered in our community and within our organization.

In November UpLift crew accomplished: 

  • 38 Project Sites Visited

  • 1,129 Native Perennials Planted

  • 73 Native Trees & Shrubs Planted

  • 2,750 sqft of Conservation Landscaping Installed

Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church | Ellicott City

In November we installed a 1,200 sqft conservation landscape at St. Peter's Episcopal Church. We’ve worked with St. Peter’s many times throughout the years to maintain existing gardens, with a key focus of replacing turf grass with native shrubs and perennial flowers. You can learn about how we tore up their turf for an episode of Kill Your Lawn here. And if you would like to support the Kill Your Lawn Project, check out the Kill Your Lawn shirts we have in our store.

Septic Field Conservation Gardens

Our Uplift Crew installed two 400 sqft of septic field landscape gardens. This project was partially funded by the Clean Water Fund, which has been advocating for clean water and air sinceshallow-rooted 1974. These gardens feature native plants such as Big Bluestem, Hay-Scented Fern, Daisy Fleabane, Fall Phlox, and Black-eyed-susans.

What makes a septic field landscape different from our normal conservation gardens? Instead of planting trees or shrubs that will grow roots that could eventually damage the septic system, we focus on shallow rooted herbaceous native plants. It is also ideal to plant native grasses and wildflowers over a vegetable garden, for safety reasons. We’re looking forward to seeing how they bloom next year. Special thanks to William Beck for these epic drone photos!

Sturgis Moore Park | Laurel

Our Crew installed a 750 sqft pollinator garden at Sturgis Moore Park in Laurel. This project was fully funded by a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust. This garden features native shrubs such as Inkberry and Sweetspire as well as native perennials such as Butterfly weed, False Blue Indigo, Purple & Orange Coneflower, Bluebird Smooth Aster, Blazing Star, and Prairie Dropseed.

Saint Paul’s Cemetery | Ellicott City

Our Crew installed 18 native trees at Saint Paul’s Cemetery in Ellicott City, in an ongoing  effort to protect both the Tiber Watershed and Ellicott City’s historical spaces. This project, which is being implemented in conjunction with the Ellicott City Partnership, will include planting a total of 75 trees in the Tiber Watershed draining to Old Ellicott City.

The native trees that are featured in this project are; River Birch, Black Chokeberry, American Sycamore, Chokeberry, American Persimmon, Black Cherry, Allegheny Serviceberry, Silky Dogwood, Gro Low Sumac, and Swamp White Oak. This tree-planting project was funded by Howard County Government’s Community Stormwater grant program. 

Orchard Hill HOA | Columbia

We Planted 19 native trees at Orchard Hill HOA. This project was funded by the National Fish and Wildlife grant. The tree species we planted includes Swamp White Oak, River Birch, Eastern Redbud, Serviceberry, & Scarlet Oak.

Guilford Park High School | Students Branching Out Tree Planting

Catherine gives a thumbs up with an attempt of a smile, Xai in the background has a wide gaping smile
Catherine & Xai

Our crew supported students at Guilford Park High School for planting around 100 trees. This was part of the Students Branching Out program which engages Howard County stu­dents in local tree plant­ing efforts. You can learn more about it on Live Green Howard

Safe & Sounds Event | Ellicott City

Our  crew responded to a Safe & Sound event, working diligently to remove 300 lbs of debris from one the 56 flood prone points around the County. These efforts are part of our ongoing commitment to community and stormwater management, as we strive to make the region safer and more resilient in the face of environmental challenges. Through our partnership with Howard County Government,  the "Safe & Sound" initiative contributes to the well-being and safety of Ellicott City and its residents. 

Deering Woods Rain Garden Installation | Columbia

This September our crews broke ground on a rain garden for Deering Woods Condominiums, which was featured in our September blog. However, we missed posting the reveal in October! This 250 sq ft garden features a mix of native perennials and shrubs that are utilized to improve drainage issues during water from storm events.

This garden features native shrubs like Bottlebrush Buckeye, Oakleaf Hydrangeas, and Maryland Dwarf American Holly in addition to; Christmas Fern, Blue Wood sedge, and foamflower. We’re looking forward to seeing how this garden matures along with the other gardens we’ve installed and maintained for this community. 

This project was partially funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).

Professional Development and Industry Exposure

At Howard EcoWorks, our UpLift program places a strong emphasis on continuous improvement through certifications and professional development in the green industry. Our team was immersed in a series of educational experiences throughout November, such as:

  • Professional Development Day | Financial Literacy: Our program director, Campbell Shepard, led our crew on an exploration of financial literacy to help prepare them for a stable financial future. 

  • Winterization Maintenance Training & Native Plant ID Training: Fall 2023 Uplift Crew joined Nick, our Field Technician, for a day of training. They learned how to do landscape maintenance and forest management for the winter. They also learned how to identify native plants, which is a key skill we believe sets our crew apart from traditional landscaping. We hope they use and apply these skills in their future career paths. 

Milestones, Media, and Merits

November was an eventful month for Howard EcoWorks, featuring significant achievements. Lori Lilly took the stage as a keynote speaker on biochar and our conservation efforts. And we celebrate our community that helps us grow.

Lori Lilly Keynote Speaker & Biochar Talk

Our director and founder, Lori Lilly, gave an educational presentation to agriculture science academy students of HCPSS. She discussed biochar, local conservation efforts, and how students can get involved! Students were able to ask questions and observe biochar. 

She also gave a presentation with the 2023 Chesapeake Watershed Forum on Biochar and Climate Resilient Landscapes. You can watch the entire presentation here. During the 19th Annual Conference for Maryland Association of Floodplain and Stormwater Managers, Lori delivered a keynote speech featuring Making Urban Lands, Working Lands, a Multifaceted approach to Climate Resilience. 

Needless to say she’s had a busy month educating the public on biochar, conservation, and making a difference in one’s community.

Botanigal Workshop

In celebration of Howard Ecoworks Staff and their dedication, staff members had the opportunity to learn about terrariums from Hannah at BotaniGal. It was a fun experience filled with laughter and team bonding. In the end, they got to take home their own unique terrariums!

Staff Achievements

Our staff members are committed to their professional development and growing Howard EcoWorks. So it’s important to shine a light and celebrate major milestones!

We’re grateful for Genevieve Simard and commemorate her 5th year with Howard EcoWorks! She joined the crew in the Fall of 2018, and was promoted to Landscape Foreman in August 2019.  She is currently our Operations Director and does a tremendous job of organizing our crews and projects. We’re thankful for her dedication to the growth of EcoWorks. 

We celebrate Campbell Shepard, our program manager for completing the Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional - Level 1 Certification! We hope he continues to grow and use his skills and knowledge to help others as he has done so well with EcoWorks. To learn more about the CBLP certification, click here. 

Giving Tuesday

We kicked off the end of the month with Giving Tuesday. Every year, the following Tuesday after Thanksgiving is dedicated to donating towards nonprofits. Thanks to our generous donors, we were able to raise $2,317 for our conservation efforts! If you missed Giving Tuesday and still want to help us, check out our Year End Giving campaign to donate today!


As we bid farewell to November, we extend heartfelt gratitude to our dedicated team, supportive community, and invaluable partners. The month has been a testament to the power of environmental stewardship and community engagement. As we look back on the achievements and moments of growth, we eagerly anticipate the opportunities and challenges that December will bring. Stay tuned for more stories of impact, collaboration, and green endeavors in the days ahead.

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