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Turning a New Leaf: EcoWorks' October Adventures

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

In October, the Howard EcoWorks team was in full swing, tackling fantastic projects, honing their professional skills, and reaching remarkable milestones. The month was abuzz with achievements and growth, highlighting our steadfast dedication to creating greener, more vibrant communities. Discover our October journey as we serve Howard County and beyond in this recap!

In October UpLift crew accomplished:

  • 16 Project Sites Visited

  • 8,278 Native Perennials Planted

  • 39 Native Trees & Shrubs Planted

  • 2,500 sqft of Conservation Landscaping Installed

October Projects

Kill Your Lawn | Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church in Ellicott City

UpLift crew delved into an exciting project featured in the upcoming show Kill Your Lawn hosted by Joey Santore, famed for Crime Pays But Botany Doesn't. With a comedic twist, the show advocates for native plants over traditional lawns. Our dedicated teams tirelessly broke ground and utilized biochar to enhance the soil, laying the foundation for a 1,700-square-foot conservation landscape at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Ellicott City. The project is a great continuation of EcoWorks’ past efforts implementing the Soak It Up campaign in 2017-2020 whose goal was to engage private property owners in efforts to mitigate stormwater runoff from their properties to help mitigate flooding. In addition, EcoWorks and St Peter’s have engaged in multiple demonstrations over the years to highlight and emphasize approaches to land management and flood mitigation - our collective feature on Kill Your Lawn is a testament to our past and continued relationship in the flood prone town.

Additionally, our CEO, Lori Lilly, contributed to the project with an educational interview that we eagerly anticipate hearing when the episode airs. We extend our immense gratitude to St. Peter's for entrusting us to work on their land, making this remarkable project possible.

Atholton High School Stormwater Pond Planting | Columbia, MD

At Atholton High School, our dedication to environmental transformation continued as we wrapped up an extensive project this month. Read about what we did in September here. The culmination of our efforts involved the completion of the project and the planting of 15 native shrubs along with the installation of 2,500 native grass plugs. This final phase not only signifies the successful conclusion of our project but also contributes to the long-term ecological and educational benefits of the site.

Little Patuxent Triangle Community

Our crew installed approximately 772 sq ft of conservation landscape, carefully divided into five distinct beds. They took on a multifaceted approach to transform the area, beginning with the removal of existing non-native vegetation. They meticulously prepared the soil, ensuring it was conducive to the growth of native plants. Our efforts extended to planting trees, shrubs, and perennials, each with the promise of becoming a vibrant addition to the local ecosystem. To further enhance the landscape's sustainability, we integrated compost, topsoil, river rocks, pavers, and coir matting, all contributing to the beauty and ecological vitality of the Little Patuxent Triangle Community.

Stonebrook Community | Columbia, MD

In the Stonebrook Community, our crew planted 30 trees generously provided by the Howard County Stream ReLeaf program. These trees include a variety of native species, such as Silky Dogwood, Smooth Alder, Spicebush, Eastern Redbud, and Willow Oak. By enhancing the community with these trees, we aim to improve local biodiversity and contribute to stormwater management, benefiting both the environment and the residents of Stonebrook.

Safe & Sounds Event | Ellicott City

Our crew responded to a Safe & Sound event, working diligently to remove debris from 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.

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. In the vibrant month of October, our team was immersed in a series of enlightening experiences:

  • Tree Pruning Demo with Arborist Andrés Ovalle: Our crew had the privilege of learning from our on staff arborist, Andrés Ovalle, in an illuminating tree pruning demonstration. This hands-on session provided valuable insights into the art and science of tree care, enhancing our expertise in promoting healthy urban forests.

  • MDE Responsible Personnel Training Certification (Green Card): The team delved into essential training for responsible personnel, earning the coveted 'Green Card.' This certification focuses on Erosion and Sediment Control in compliance with Maryland State laws. Learn More about this program here.

  • Chesapeake Bay Landscape Certificates (Part A): This certificate program is for landscape professionals specializing in sustainable landscaping. It emphasizes sustainable practices, focusing on stormwater management and conservation landscaping with native plants to benefit the environment. Learn more about CBLP here.

  • Professional Portraits: Having professional pictures play a pivotal role in networking and career development, opening doors to new opportunities and better job prospects in the ever-evolving world of sustainability.

Prince George County| Rain Check Rebate Contractor Training

UpLift recently immersed themselves in a training initiative in partnership with the LID Center and Prince George's County Department of the Environment. This program equips local landscape professionals with comprehensive expertise in designing, constructing, and maintaining stormwater management practices. The two-day experience combines classroom discussions and hands-on activities, with a focus on practical site assessment techniques.Our crew not only gained essential knowledge but also enjoyed the collaborative aspect, working together to design a garden while applying their sustainable landscaping skills. Did you know if you live in Prince George County you can apply for the rain check rebate program? This funds seven types of stormwater practices: rain barrels, cisterns, rain gardens, urban tree canopy, pavement removal, permeable pavement, and green roofs. Learn more about this program here.

Howard County Office of Community Sustainability Tour

We had the privilege of hosting a tour for the Howard County Office of Community Sustainability (OCS), during which our staff and crew had the opportunity to showcase their remarkable work to the new OCS Administrator, Tim Lattimer, and his team. The tour encompassed a visit to our nursery, Seeds of Change, followed by an exploration of a county stream restoration site that is maintained by our crew. The highlight of the tour was the Clocktower rain garden conservation project, which stands as a testament to the impactful partnership with Howard County's community stormwater grants. This tour not only provided a platform to demonstrate our commitment to green initiatives but also facilitated a meaningful exchange with the county's sustainability efforts, strengthening our community partnership.

Milestones, Media, and Merits

This month Howard EcoWorks shone bright with milestones and media recognition. We accepted a Gold Leaf Award, hosted Council Members on an Eco-Tour, featured in podcasts, and celebrated the Seeds of Change Grand Re-Opening. Join us in a quick recap of these significant achievements.

Howard Ecoworks Accepts Gold Leaf Award | 2023

In a moment of immense pride our CEO, Lori Lilly, accepted the Gold Leaf Award from the International Society of Arboriculture on behalf of Howard EcoWorks. This prestigious award recognized our outstanding landscape beautification efforts, underscoring our unwavering commitment to making the world a greener, more beautiful place. We're thrilled by this recognition and motivated to continue our journey of environmental stewardship and community enrichment.

Howard County Council Members Eco-Tour

Our Director, Lori Lilly, led a tour around Howard County with HC Council Members, immersing them in the realm of climate change initiatives and environmental stewardship. This tour was a vital step in acquainting council members with the existing climate change and stormwater solutions, including street bumpouts, rain gardens and the use of biochar, as well as understanding how Howard EcoWorks manages public lands. It delved into the challenges of implementing infrastructure for communities and celebrated the successes of low-tech environmental solutions. Council members departed with newfound knowledge about Howard County's environment, the significance of forward-thinking stormwater solutions, and the potential for a greener Howard County. It's a journey we're excited to continue together as we work towards a more sustainable future.

Howard Ecoworks Featured in Podcasts

Howard Ecoworks was featured in two podcasts this October!

Next Generation of the Green Workforce features multiple people within our organization and how we tap into multiple solutions to sustainable landscaping, green industry, and workforce development. Hosted by No, I Know podcast in their series: Waterways to Airways.

The Green Dragon featured Lori Lilly in an educational interview about Howard Ecoworks beginnings and evolution into the nonprofit it is today.

Seeds of Change Grand Re-Opening!

To top off the end of our incredibly busy October, Seeds of Change nursery hosted its Grand Re-opening the 28th! It was a heartwarming celebration of community support and growth. We’re thankful to everyone who joined us on this special day, as well as the Howard County Corrections Department for providing us with the space to foster meaningful change. Our appreciation also goes to the Maryland Master Gardeners Program and the Howard County Watershed Stewards Academy for their valuable support and educational contributions. Over the past 2.5 years, Seeds of Change has blossomed into an educational hub, now open to the public for native plant sales, while actively transforming its landscape into a haven of natural beauty. When you choose Seeds of Change, you're not just purchasing quality native plants; you're nurturing an entire community.

October was a month of growth, accomplishments, and ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship for Howard EcoWorks. As we reflect on our remarkable projects, professional development initiatives, and significant milestones, we're excited to keep you updated on our journey toward greener, more vibrant communities. Stay with us for more exciting stories and experiences in the coming months as we continue our mission to create a more sustainable world. Until next time!

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