Monthly Archives

October 2018

Chesapeake Conservation Corps Profile: Syler Merski & Friends of Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum

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This year we’re showcasing the unique experience of participating in the Chesapeake Conservation Corps by sharing profiles of each member of the 2018-2019 cohort, along with information on their host site and descriptions of the work they’ll be doing. Corps members met their host site mentors and began their year of service in August 2018.

Syler Merski is a recent graduate from Huntingtown High School, in Huntingtown, Maryland, where she specialized in Environmental Science.  Through her coursework, she recognized the need for quality environmental education opportunities for young students.

Through the Chesapeake Conservation Corps, Syler is working with the Friends of Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum (JPPM) to educate and promote the natural and cultural history of the southern Maryland region.

With her American Indian heritage, Syler hopes to bring a new and creative touch to the children’s events and educational programs on the park as well as with outreach programs in the community.  She aims to use her gardening experience to assist in maintaining gardens, and developing planted areas in an effort to help prevent areas of the park from eroding.

Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum is a 560-acre property along the Patuxent River which was donated to the State of Maryland in 1983 as a way to preserve the rich cultural and natural resources present on the land.  The mission of the organization is to connect people to the past through history and archeology, and support the preservation of Maryland’s cultural resources.

Syler is excited to assist with educational programs on such a diverse park along the scenic beaches of the Patuxent River. She is eager to gain first-hand teaching experience by supporting the park’s established programs for 4th and 6th graders in Calvert County Public Schools.  Syler will also gain field experience with biodiversity surveys and habitat monitoring projects on the park. However, Syler is most excited to spend her time in a place where she feels at home, and more importantly, where she’ll never truly have to “work” a day in her life.

Tips to Prepare Your Rain Check Yard for Winter

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Follow these five tips to winterize your stormwater management practices to ensure that they function properly for years to come.

Residents in Prince George’s County are dedicated to improving their communities and the environment by participating in the County’s Rain Check Rebate program. This program offers rebates to property owners in the County to install approved stormwater management practices. These practices reduce stormwater runoff and pollution to local rivers and can also beautify the property, reduce water costs, and reduce erosion, pooling, and flooding. After the installation of these practices and as winter approaches, it is important to inspect and maintain them periodically to ensure they will continue to function properly.

What is a Rain Check Yard?

A Rain Check Yard is a property that has installed one or more of the seven eligible practices. These practices include rain barrels, cisterns, urban tree canopy, rain gardens, pavement removal, permeable pavement, and green roofs. Rain Check Rebate participants can receive a yard sign (pictured above) to proudly display their commitment to keeping our waterways healthy and clean!

Five Tips to Prepare Your Rain Check Yard for Winter

In addition to the tips listed below, view the fact sheets and guidelines for each practice linked above for additional maintenance tips and suggested maintenance schedules.

1

Drain and disconnect rain barrels.

Water that is left in the rain barrel may freeze and cause damage to the barrel or downspout.
2

Remove leaves and debris.

Check your rain gardens and permeable pavement for leaves and other debris that may prevent runoff from flowing properly through the practice. Remove and dispose of the debris appropriately.
3

Apply a new layer of mulch.

Replenish mulch in your rain garden and trees with double shredded hardwood mulch for 2 to 3 inches of cover. Mulch helps maintain the temperature of the soil, encourages retention of moisture, and suppresses grass and weeds.
4

Use salt in moderation to melt ice.

Salt can be used in moderation to melt ice, but never use sand unless you have paving stones. Sand can cause clogging and reduce infiltration.
5

Water young trees.

Trees that have been in the ground less than three years require 25 gallons of water, or about 1.5 inches of rainfall, per week.
How Can I Participate?

Interested applicants must be the property owner and submit an online application. Once we receive your application, the Rain Check Coordinator, Bre’Anna Brooks, will contact you to set up a site visit. The project must be approved prior to installation, with the exception of rain barrel projects. After approval, the practice should be installed within 12 months. Once the project is complete, Bre’Anna will conduct a second site visit to ensure that the project followed the guidelines and criteria specified for the project type. The County will then review the project and provide a rebate (a partial or full refund) to the property owner. The refund amount is dependent on the type of practice installed, the property type, and final receipts/invoices. Learn about the projects and amount of rebates available by clicking on the “Learn More and Apply” button below.

To date, over 300 property owners in Prince George’s County have participated in the Rain Check Rebate program and are making a difference in keeping the County’s waterways healthy and clean!

The Prince George’s County Rain Check Rebate program is a partnership between the County and the Chesapeake Bay Trust. The program is currently open and accepting applications on a rolling basis. 

Trust Unveils Newly Designed Chesapeake Bay License Plate

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Marylanders can help restore natural resources and give back to their communities by requesting the newly redesigned Bay Plate

The Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) gathered with partners and friends to reveal the new design for Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay license plate during a special unveiling ceremony at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis. The newly redesigned plate features two prominent Chesapeake icons: the blue crab and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Sales of the Chesapeake Bay license plate support the Trust’s grant programs, which fund K-12 outdoor education, environmental restoration projects, and community engagement in natural resources. The new plate will be available for purchase beginning Monday, October 29, 2018.

The unveiling of the new plate, frequently referred to as the Bay Plate or Chesapeake Bay Plate, is the culmination of an extensive process that engaged multiple Maryland-based artists and incorporated input from thousands of Marylanders who considered over 250 alternative designs. Ultimately, TM Design, a Frederick-based design firm and member of the Maryland State Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program, created a design that won the majority of survey respondents’ votes and resonated with Marylanders’ desire for a plate that evokes “Chesapeake Pride.”

“The Maryland Department of Transportation is proud to partner with the Chesapeake Bay Trust and support its efforts to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay through the Bay Plate,” said Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn.

The Bay Plate is a popular choice among Maryland drivers, with 7 percent of all vehicles displaying them and 12 percent of households across the state reporting that they have at least one set of Bay Plates in the family. Close to 338,000 Bay Plates are on the roads today.

“MDOT MVA is pleased to offer this new option to Maryland drivers,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer, whose agency administers the Bay Plate program.

Scenes from the Unveiling: Maryland Secretary of Transporation Pete K. Rahn; Maryland MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer;  Trust Executive Director Jana Davis; new Bay Plate designer  Tina Cardosi of  TM Design, Inc.; and 2018 Trust scholarship winner Darrea Frazier addressed guests at the unveiling ceremony.

“We look forward to providing premier customer service to all those interested in purchasing the new Bay Plate at one of our branches or through our convenient web services starting on Monday, October 29th.”

The new design is the third design in the history of the Bay Plate, with the first introduced in 1990 and the second in 2004. All Maryland license plates are manufactured by Maryland Correctional Enterprises, a division of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Bay Plate Designers: Designers of the new Bay Plate, Tina Cardosi (center) and Sujen Buford (right) with designer of the 2004 plate, Joe Barsin.

“We are so proud to have worked on the new Bay Plate,” said Tina Cardosi, president of TM Design. “It will be an honor and a thrill to see our work on so many vehicles on Maryland’s roads and beyond. Knowing that this plate will help to improve water quality and our natural resources throughout the state is incredibly rewarding.”

Through Chesapeake Bay Plate funds, the Trust provides approximately 400 grants per year to schools, faith-based organizations, civic associations, homeowners associations, watershed groups, environmental organizations, and more. Each year, about 80,000 students and 20,000 volunteers are engaged through the Bay Plate and Trust grants. These grantees plant thousands of trees, native plants, marsh grasses, and oysters; remove tons of trash; and create over 100 acres of wetlands, rain gardens, stream buffers, and living shorelines each year.

“We are thrilled to introduce this iconic Chesapeake Bay Plate that captures the essence of where we live,” said Jana Davis, PhD, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust. “By asking for the Bay Plate, drivers help to get kids outside on field trips and trees and gardens planted across our communities, all of which helps the Bay and its contributing rivers and streams.”

Maryland has made significant progress in restoring the Chesapeake Bay in recent years. Under the Hogan Administration, the state has invested a historic $4 billion in Bay restoration initiatives. The Chesapeake Bay recently received its highest recorded grade in the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences annual report card, and Maryland’s coastal bays hit a historic high mark in the 2017 Coastal Bays Report Card from the Maryland Coastal Bays Program.

The newly designed license plate will be available for $20, and can be purchased through an MDOT MVA branch, car dealerships, tag and title agencies, and online at https://cbtrust.org/purchase-a-bay-plate/.

Kent Island Beach Cleanups Unveils Educational Environmental Sculpture

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Images courtesy of Kent Island Beach Cleanups.

“Many Hands of the Chesapeake” project illuminates the detrimental effects of single-use plastics; Mentorship program advances nonprofit’s mission

Last month, the Trust was honored to help Kent Island Beach Cleanups (KIBCU) celebrate the culmination of their “Many Hands of the Chesapeake” project, an environmental art sculpture commissioned by KIBCU and created by local artist Lucy Kruse from trash and debris collected during KIBCU’s beach cleanup events.

The project was funded by a grant from the Trust’s Community Engagement Mini Grant program, which funds activities that enhance communities and engage residents in activities that improve natural resources.

KIBCU also participated in this grant program’s unique Mentorship Program, established by the Trust in recent years to expand the circle of viable grant applicants. Through this program, KIBCU was paired with the National Aquarium, which served as a mentor to the small nonprofit throughout the project development and grant application process. In turn, the National Aquarium, an established grantee with a track record of successful applications, is eligible to apply for funding through the mini grant program.

“As a grassroots organization, we were very lucky and thankful to have had the opportunity to be mentored by the National Aquarium for the Community Engagement Mini Grant program. The growing issue of marine debris, specifically single-use plastics is a major concern for both KIBCU and the Aquarium,” said KIBCU President and Founder Kristin Weed. “Everything seemed to fall into place perfectly when, unbeknownst to us, the Aquarium joined the Aquarium Conservation Partnership where they started a campaign titled ‘In Our Hands’ where participating aquariums are beginning to shift away from single-use plastics at their facilities. In the meantime, we named our grant project ‘Many Hands of the Chesapeake’ focusing on educating our community on the detriment of single-use plastics. This joint partnership allows us to tackle this problem on both a small and large scale, all with a common goal to reduce pollution in our waterways. We believe this mentorship program allowed us to gain a better understanding of the grant application process, along with opening doors for additional partnerships with other like-minded organizations in our area.”

Kent Island Beach Cleanups was established in 2012 and now organizes a season’s worth of beach cleanups each year throughout Kent Island from March through November. The amount of trash required for the “Many Hands” sculpture was collected during a single cleanup in the spring of 2018. The sculpture is currently on display at the Queen Anne’s County Board of Education and will travel to 14 schools throughout the county along with educational materials on the detriments of single-use plastics and the importance of protecting the environment.

The Community Engagement Mini Grant Program is currently open and accepting applications on a rolling basis.

To read more about Kent Island Beach Cleanups, visit their website. To read more about the “Many Hands” project, check out these articles.

Outdoor Enthusiasts Have Yet Another Way to Give Back

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Photo: Maryland DNR/Larry Hindman

Partnership with Maryland Department of Natural Resources Establishes Maryland Outdoor Recreation and Clean Water Fund

Anglers, boaters and hunters who purchase their licenses or registrations from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources have a new way to contribute to give back to natural resources they enjoy and love. In partnership with the Trust, the department announced a new voluntary option in the online checkout for the Maryland Outdoor Recreation and Clean Water Fund.

Funds generated by the new program will be distributed as grants for on-the-ground conservation and restoration projects that seek to enhance habitat and water quality as well as programs aimed at getting K-12 students outdoors. Grants will be provided to nonprofits in support of environmental and natural resources priorities throughout the state, from the Youghiogheny to the Coastal Bays.

“Our citizens and customers shared our commitment and passion for the great outdoors, and are great advocates and stewards in the conservation, protection and wise use of our state’s lands and waters,” Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “Thanks to our strong partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Trust, we can provide our customers with an easy and simple way to give back to nature’s bounty.”

Grants from the Maryland Outdoor Recreation and Clean Water Fund will support projects as small as $100 to over $500,000 made to community and environmental organizations as well as research and watershed groups.

“We are thrilled to make stronger connections between the fishing, hunting and boating communities, and improvement of the resources they enjoy,” Chesapeake Bay Trust Executive Director Jana Davis said. “The evidence is mounting that being outdoors is good for all of us: We want these communities to have an option not just to enjoy their outdoor activities, but the opportunity to take part in restoring and protecting outdoor resources.”

All contributions will be tax deductible. Contributors over $10 will have the option of enrolling in a “Perks Program,” which offers discounts and preferred parking at local businesses throughout Maryland.

Examples of projects supported by the Maryland Outdoor Recreation and Clean Water Fund include:

  • Boating field trips
  • Eel, oyster, shad, terrapin, trout and other raise-and-release programs for students
  • Living shoreline projects, including access for canoes and kayaks
  • Local sustainable seafood projects
  • Research to improve efficacy of stream restoration practices
  • Trout stream restoration projects
  • Wetland restoration projects

For every $20 contributed, one tree can be planted and one student can receive an outdoor field trip.

Funds will be managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Trust.

Learn more about this program at www.cbtrust.org/mdoutdoors.