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Saying Farewell to the Fall - Winter Uplift Cohort of 2023


collage of uplift group photos

WHAT IS UPLIFT?

UpLift is a comprehensive 5-month workforce development program, opening doors to the vast career opportunities within the green industry. Tailored for individuals of all ages, UpLift not only educates and trains but also provides clear pathways to permanent employment. Through engaging experiences, participants gain practical skills in sustainable landscaping and conservation while developing a deep commitment to environmental stewardship.


But today we’d like to celebrate and acknowledge our Fall and Winter Cohort of 2023/2024 and their accomplishments. We’d also like to acknowledge our Senior Crew who supported our conservation efforts and the staff at EcoWorks who support the implementation of projects, professional development, and more. So let’s dive in!


METRICS

Our dedicated crews made a real impact during their time with us. From September to February, this is what they’ve accomplished:


  • 5,822 sq ft of Native Garden Installations

  • 4,780 Native Perennials Plants Installed

  • 375 Native Trees and Shrubs Planted



KEY PROJECTS

Rain Garden:
  • Deering Woods: Installed a 250 sq ft shallow rain garden for the Deering Woods Community. This project enhances the habitat for wildlife and addresses drainage issues in the area.


Conservation Landscapes:
  • Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church & Kill Your Lawn | Ellicott City: We collaborated on a 1,700 sq ft conservation landscape that will be featured on the upcoming show "Kill Your Lawn" hosted by Joey Santore. 

  • Glen Mar UMC: Installed a 350 sq ft garden, extending from an existing landscape, to provide a haven for pollinators. In collaboration with Interfaith Partners of the Chesapeake and funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust grant

  • Patuxent Triangle HOA | Laurel: Installed a 772 sq ft of conservation landscape divided into five distinct beds based on varying site conditions. Our approach involved soil preparation, native plant installation, integrating river rocks, pavers, and coir matting.

  • Septic Field Landscape Gardens: Installed two 400 sq ft gardens funded in part by the Clean Water Fund. Unlike traditional conservation gardens, these focus on shallow-rooted herbaceous plants to avoid damage to the septic system.

  • Sturgis Moore Park Pollinator Garden: Installed 750 sq ft garden, fully funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust

  • Saint John’s Episcopal Church | Ellicott City: Installed 2,000 sq ft of conservation landscaping using over 640 native perennials and shrubs.


Plant Installations: 
  • Kittamaqundi Community: Installation of a 450 sq ft of bioretention planting involving around 150 native perennials, grasses, and trees. 

  • Atholton High School: Planting of two bio-retention ponds covering a total of 5,000 sq ft, with several thousand native plants and 14 native shrubs planted to enhance stormwater management. This collaborative project with the Community Ecology Institute and Coastal Resources Inc. also involved enthusiastic participation from volunteers of the Green Team and Good Neighbor Club.


Tree Plantings:



PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Certifications:

  • CBLP-A (Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Certification)

  • Maryland Responsible Personnel (Green Card) for Sediment & Erosion Control

  • American Red Cross First Aid & CPR

  • OSHA (10)


Development:

EcoWorks career and green industry training

  • Maryland Native Plant & Invasive Identification

  • Winter Tree Id with Andres Ovalle

  • BMP assessment Training

  • BioChar Demonstration

  • Seed Starting Activity with Ryan Briese

  • Event Training and Elevator Pitches with Lori Lilly and Elura Morris

  • Career Training: Resume building, interview practice, networking, leadership training, and job fairs. 

Green Industry Exposure

  • Climate Corps | Team building at Outward Bound

  • Shepard’s Mill Solar Farm Tour

  • PG County Rain Check Training

  • Landscape Design Industry Training

  • Climate Corps | Live Staking

  • Climate Corps | Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Visit

  • Climate Corps | Leadership Retreat

  • Jim Dukes Farmacy Visit 

  • Industry Exposure Arboriculture with Lou Meyer

  • Webinars:

    •  Prescribed Burn Seminar

    • Invasive Species Conference

    • Greenscapes Symposium


To learn more about the projects, professional development, and collaborators, check out our monthly recaps (between September and February) that go into detail.

MEET THE CREW


Tyler Walker Headshot
Tyler Walker

Tyler began as an Assistant Crew Lead, advancing to Crew Lead within the Uplift program. Hailing from New Orleans, LA, with a background in substitute teaching, he joined Uplift to explore opportunities in the green industry, thriving in fieldwork and networking. Tyler aspires to utilize his experience and connections for a career in professional environmental conservation.


JP Osborne Headshot
JP Osborne

JP began as an Assistant Crew Leader, progressing to Crew Leader within the Uplift program, and now holds a position in our Senior Crew. Hailing from Columbia, MD, JP's passion for environmental advocacy and flood water management aligns perfectly with their aspirations post-program. Graduating from UMBC in 2020 with a Political Science Degree, JP brings a diverse skill set and a commitment to environmental advocacy to their role.


May Allbritton-King Headshot
May Allbritton-King

May was an enthusiastic crew member this fall and winter, and she is now a part of our Senior crew. Hailing from Baltimore County, she brings a diverse background with studies in applied physics and an interest in civil or environmental engineering. She is driven by her passion for environmental protection and her desire to make a positive impact on the world.


Tyra prunning
Tyra Villadiego-Alvarez

Tyra, a Silver Spring, MD native, started as an enthusiastic crew member and successfully graduated from the program. Excited about having deepened her knowledge of plants and habitat restoration, Tyra aspires to seamlessly blend her passion for nature with her holistic healing practices in the future.


Mathew Landsdale Headshot
Mathew Langsdale

Matt joined Uplift as a crew member in the fall and successfully graduated from the program. A Columbia, MD native, he holds a degree in English Literature from UMD, bringing a diverse skill set to his role. An enthusiastic crew member, Matt values the program's professional development opportunities, reflecting his commitment to continual growth and learning.


Ewurafua Headshot
Ewurafua Asiedu

Ewurafua, hailing from Columbia, MD, brought a wealth of outdoor experience and knowledge of plants to their role as a crew member. Their enthusiasm for learning from team members and trying new experiences at EcoWorks reflects their dedication to merging programming skills with their passion for environmental stewardship. They did pursue a job at a local native plant nursery with success.


Josh Headshot
Joshua Ward

Josh's journey with us began as a crew member and has since progressed to the role of Assistant Crew Lead. With a passion for environmental science and a talent for teaching, Josh is returning to UMBC to complete his degree in geography and environmental science.


Catharin Headshot
Catharine Love

Currently began as an Assistant Crew Lead and eventually landed her dream job in environmental landscape design. As a local Maryland native, she has always been passionate about the arts, local ecosystem resilience, and native gardening. Her time with Howard EcoWorks provided valuable field skills and leadership experience, aligning her path with her passion for environmental management and sustainability.


Niall Headshot
Niall Donaldson

Niall's journey with Howard EcoWorks began in 2023 with our Summer READY program as an Assistant Crew Lead, and became a Crew Lead for Uplift during the Fall of 2023. However, his time with us was short, but his passion for environmental work is active. 


Going Forward


As we wrap up, we want to express our utmost pride in the Fall and Winter Cohort of 2023 and their incredible achievements. We also extend our gratitude to our Senior crew members and dedicated staff who have been instrumental in supporting our conservation efforts. We couldn't be prouder of this exceptional crew and their commitment to environmental stewardship. And we hope they continue to grow in their path and take their experience at EcoWorks as a springboard to even greater success in their future endeavors.




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