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Springtime Sprouts: EcoWorks' March Environmental Impact


Title laid over an close up image of the pink Redbud flowers

Spring is in the air, and March brings new horizons on the environmental frontier! As we bid farewell to familiar faces and extend a warm welcome to new ones, our commitment to environmental stewardship remains steadfast. Join us as we reflect on the highlights of this transformative month:


Metrics

In March our UpLift and senior crews:


March 2024 Metrics a visual
  • Visited 20 project locations.

  • Planted 121 native trees and shrubs.

  • Performed maintenance at 6 stream restoration sites and 3 properties.

  • Completed 9 EcoCrew events, helping residents with tasks such as invasive plant removal, weeding, mulching, replanting garden beds, and trash and debris clean-up

  • Engaged with 70+ volunteers during Alternative Spring Break.


Projects



Stream Restoration Maintenance | Howard County

Part of our organization's routine maintenance involves stream restoration sites throughout Howard County. We target invasive plants, strangling vines, trash, and debris to allow native plants a chance to breathe and grow. In March we tackled 6 different stream restoration sites for maintenance. 



Tree Planting | Ellicott Mills

Our crews planted 100 native trees in the Ellicott Mills neighborhood of Catonsville, MD! This project was funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust. 




Tree Planting | Catonsville Elementary School

Our crews planted 21 native trees at Catonsville Elementary School, also funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust




Stream & Tunnel Inspection | Ellicott City

Lori Lilly, our founder and director, led our organization's staff in training while venturing into the streams and tunnels beneath the historic town of Ellicott City. Lori initiated the debris management program in Ellicott City in 2015, in response to the 2011 flood. Focused on restoring neglected historic channels, this endeavor demanded extensive collaboration with the county. From its inception, through the response and recovery phases following the severe floods of 2016 and 2018, to its integration into the County's Safe and Sound Plan, the program has been a testament to dedication and resilience.  



ASB metrics visualized

Volunteering | Alternative Spring Break

For Alternative Spring Break, between March 25th and 29th, we engaged with 70+ volunteers at 9 different sites to remove invasives, trash, and debris. Around 19 trash bags were filled, estimated to be 600 lbs of trash, and 6 cubic yards of invasive plants were removed! Additional shoutout to Patapsco Heritage Greenway for leading the way in Downtown Ellicott City. You can view pictures of this event here. 


Professional Development and Industry Exposure

Our workforce development program, UpLift, creates opportunities for growth in the green industry with certifications and training. In March the Uplift team completed the following:


Back: Chris, JP, Tyler. Middle: Tyra, Elura, May, Owen, Matt L. Front: Xai, Matt H., and Andres

UpLift Graduation

Our Fall | Winter Crew of 2023 graduated at the beginning of March. While we’re sad to see them go, we are incredibly proud of this team, and you can read about all their accomplishments in this blog. We celebrated them with a fun day of art projects, games, a winter tree ID hike with our conservation restoration director, Andrés Ovalle, and an award ceremony. We hope they carry their experiences with them for years to come.



Aramah, Jake, Aaron, Alex, & Calvin

Onboarding the Spring UpLift Team

We onboarded our new Spring and Summer UpLift team with 5 crew members. Meet Aaron, Alex, Aramah, Jake, and Calvin! Learn more about this exciting team here. We look forward to what they will accomplish this next season. So far with their professional development, they’ve completed the following:

  • Conflict resolution with MCRC of Howard County.

  • Invasive Plant Identification training in the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area.

  • Begin CBLP-A training.

  • Begin OSHA 10 training.

  • First Professional Development Day: 

  • Communications training

  • Team Building exercises

  • Watershed science and planning activity with Lori Lilly.

  • Andres Ovalle led a Tree ID and tree pruning workshop.



Milestones, Media, and Merits


A man with long brown hair, a red beard, and tie dye jacket smiling
Ryan Briese

Nursery Manager Promotion | Ryan Briese

We congratulate Ryan Briese for a promotion from Nursery Assistant to Nursery Manager at Seeds of Change. Ryan began his journey with us at EcoWorks as an Assistant Crew Lead in READY of 2022, and returned in March 2023, to work at our native plant nursery. Ryan has a wealth of experience and knowledge around native plants and we’re proud to have him on our team.



Senior Crew Promotion  | JP Osborne and May Allbritton-King

We celebrate JP Osborne and May Allbritton-King for graduating UpLift and joining our Senior Crew. They were stellar crew members for this fall and winter, and we’re glad to have them onboard! 


short dark brown hair and beard, smiling, olive skin
Matt Hemler

Project Coordinator Promotion | Matt Hemler

Matt Hemler was promoted from Senior Crew lead to Project Coordinator. He began as an Assistant Crew Lead for UpLift in March of 2023, took a small break after his season of UpLift ended, and returned in January for a senior crew position. Matt will be leading the way in training and professional development with UpLift and READY crews, and our EcoAmbassador team. 



EcoWorks Anniversary 

Several individuals within our organization had their working anniversaries in March. So let’s celebrate the following:

  • Nick Lovett: 3 years

  • Kate Kyle: 2 years

  • Matt Hemler: 1 year

  • Elura Morris: 1 year

  • Owen Jowanowitch: 1 year

  • Chris Wagner: 1 year




DASH IN Donation

A new DASH IN location opened up near Ellicott City, and they threw an epic grand opening involving the local Volunteer Fire Department, the Orioles mascot, Centennial High School Dance Team, a DJ and more. During their opening ceremony they donated to several organizations and nonprofits, and we were among the chosen and were awarded $5000! We are grateful for their generous donation and appreciate their support for the local community. Photos featuring one of our board members, Jamie Fraser, accepting the check on our behalf.


CONCLUSION: 

March at Howard EcoWorks was a month of growth, both internally and externally. From our dedicated crews' impactful projects to the professional development of our team members, we've embraced change and continued our mission of environmental stewardship. As we celebrate achievements and welcome new beginnings, we're excited for the journey ahead, filled with opportunities to make a positive difference in our community and environment.




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