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March 2019

Chesapeake Bay Trust Announces Awardees from February 2019 Board of Trustees Meeting

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Annapolis, MD – The Chesapeake Bay Trust announced the approval of 12 grants totaling $417,823 to enable a wide range of organizations to implement on-the-ground restoration and education projects and programs. Four times each year the Trust’s board of trustees announces its grant approvals which help local nonprofit organizations, local governments, and schools improve water quality and better local communities through a variety of outreach and restoration techniques. In fiscal year 2018, the Chesapeake Bay Trust awarded more than $13 million in grants.

The Chesapeake Bay Trust is a nonprofit, grant-making organization dedicated to improving the streams, rivers, and other natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay region through environmental education, community outreach, and local watershed restoration. In addition to private and public partnerships, the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s funding comes from two other major sources: the Treasure the Chesapeake license plate program and donations to the Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species Fund on the Maryland state income tax form. Since 1985, the Trust has awarded more than $90 million in grants that have engaged hundreds of thousands of area residents in efforts designed to improve water quality and better local communities. For more information on the Trust’s grant programs and how to get involved, visit www.cbtrust.org.

About the Awards:
The Community Engagement and Restoration Small Grant program is designed to engage new applicants and organizations from a diverse array of communities in small-scale projects that enhance communities, engage residents, and, ultimately, improve natural resources. This program provides funding to groups that have traditionally been under-engaged with environmental issues and to provide to applicants who may not be experienced in applying for grants.

Four awards totaling $17,823 were made to:

Cedar Haven Civic Association on the Patuxent River, Inc.: for educational workshops regarding small-scale stormwater management practices in a coastal community.
Lead for Future Academy: for support of four community clean-up projects in Clarksburg, Maryland.
Project Bright Future: for the “Canvassing Water for Life” project.
ShoreRivers: for the production and distribution of the 2018 State of the Rivers Report Card and for support of the State of the Rivers presentations on the Eastern Shore.

The Environmental Education Grant Program (see lower half of page on-line) was designed to increase environmental stewardship though hands-on education and public involvement in the Bay and its rivers by providing grants that build and expand K through 12 environmental education programs and increase student access to Meaningful Watershed Experiences (MWEE).

Eight awards totaling $400,000 were made to:

Calvert County Public Schools: for a proposed project building on a long-standing fifth grade oyster program. Students will use what they have learned in the classroom and during field experiences to assist in the construction of sanctuary oyster reefs in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Students will work in partnership with local conservation organizations to complete this project.
Charles County Public Schools: for partnership with The Alice Ferguson Foundation to implement an environmental literacy program for 3rd grade students. CCPS and AFF will expand on existing curricula to develop an interdisciplinary full Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) for all 3rd grade students. The MWEE will be driven by the investigative question, “How can I impact my schoolyard ecosystem?” The systemic program will guide students through outdoor experiences and classroom learning resulting in action to address local environmental issues.
Parks and People: for the delivery of environmental educational lessons to 500 Baltimore elementary students created and led by 10 City high school students to improve academic performance and promote environmental stewardship. Youth will use their knowledge of Baltimore and lessons learned in a MWEE to form a claim using the scientific method; and, identify and undertake potential actions. Actions will connect to Baltimore’s streams and align with the P&P SuperKids Camp summer program.
ShoreRivers: for the implementation of our Students for Streams MWEE program in 7 public high schools across 4 counties in Maryland. ShoreRivers will work with Sassafras Environmental Education Center to develop and co-lead Kent County Public High School teachers through their first sustainable MWEE. ShoreRivers will continue to work with Dorchester, Queen Anne, and Talbot County Public Schools in order to provide professional development specifically designed to tackle obstacles that teachers identified in creating a completely sustainable MWEE.
Somerset County Public Schools: for a collaborative initiative between Somerset County Public Schools, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (CBNERR) to create systemic MWEEs in three grade levels, 5th, 7th and 9th, in order to address regional vulnerability to climate impacts and community resilience in the face of those impacts. Ensuing student inquiry into related topics will occur through a combination of classroom work and field experiences, collecting and analyzing data; and will culminate in student-led stewardship to address resiliency in various ways. The project will help students to make sense of the science behind these forces and what they can do to help “shore up” their community’s future. This project will enable the school system to meet its commitment under the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement to provide MWEEs for elementary, middle and high school students.
Washington County Public Schools: for the continued implementation of a foundation MWEE and Environmental Literacy lessons in grades 4, 6, and high school. Cohorts were trained in the MWEEs and in designing lessons aimed at identifying environmental issues and developing solutions to related problems. Additional funding allows WCPS to continue to build strong experiences for K-12 students and teachers, create a sustainable program that incorporates the MWEES, and provide rich opportunities for ALL students to identify issues in their communities and practice service and good citizenship through vetted project and lessons.
Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, Inc.: for a program led by Waterfront Partnership and the Towson University Center for STEM Excellence, aims to increase teacher capacity to provide high-quality MWEEs for fifth grade students in Baltimore City. During this grant period, we will provide up to 18 fifth grade teachers with a five-day professional learning workshop, an Inner Harbor field trip for their classes, and action project guidance and supplies. Specifically, the program will increase teacher capacity to: 1) lead students in implementing more integrated and impactful action projects, 2) foster student-centered inquiry, 3) teach the relevant science content, and 4) effectively engage students outdoors.
Wicomico County Board of Education/Public Schools: for a partnership with the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art at Salisbury University to plan and implement a systemic program of environmental education for kindergarten and ninth grade students; expanding the current pilot programs and allowing for a formalization into the WCPS curriculum as systemic MWEEs and help us to meet the expectation of having systemic E-Lit programs in each grade band.

For more information on any of these specific grant awards, email Cindy Edson at cedson@cbtrust.org.
For more information on all our grant programs and open grant application opportunities, please visit https://cbtrust.org/grants/
The next meeting of the Chesapeake Bay Trust Board of Trustees is scheduled for May 2019.

Four Ways You Can Help Keep Prince George’s County Healthy and Beautiful

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Everyone can make a difference in their communities and in the environment. Here we provide four ways you can help keep Prince George’s County, Maryland healthy and beautiful.

1. Plant a tree

Trees provide many benefits to communities and the environment. They help improve water quality, save energy, lower city temperatures, reduce air pollution, enhance property values, provide wildlife habitat for birds and other species, facilitate social and educational opportunities, and beautify lawns and other open spaces. Tree roots, specifically, help rain soak into the soil and increase the total amount of rain that the soil can absorb.

When planting a tree and other types of plants, it is important to choose natives. Native plants are those that naturally occur in the region in which they evolved. They are adapted to local soil and climate conditions and require less watering and fertilizing. The Chesapeake Bay Native Plant Center is a wonderful resource to find native species that are suitable for your site conditions. When you’re ready to purchase, local plant nurseries can help you find what you’re looking for. A few plant nurseries in Prince George’s County that offer native plants include Behnke Nurseries, Chesapeake Natives, and Patuxent Nursery.

2. Participate in Earth Day Events and Activities

On Earth Day, Saturday, April 13th 2019, we encourage you to go green and show your appreciation for our environment! The Anacostia Watershed Earth Day Cleanup and the 31st Annual Potomac River Cleanup are two cleanup events that have several cleanup sites in Prince George’s County. Find one near you and get together with your neighbors to keep our neighborhoods and streams clean.

We encourage you to make every day Earth Day by taking small steps to reduce your environmental footprint. Take the What’s Your Bay Footprint? to find out how your lifestyle choices contributes to the health of local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay and ways you can reduce your impact.

3. Participate in Prince George’s County Rain Check Rebate Program

The Prince George’s County Rain Check Rebate Program offers incentives to homeowners, businesses, and others to install practices that reduce stormwater runoff and improve local streams and rivers. As an added benefit, homeowners that install these practices may receive a reduction on their Clean Water Act Fee. The seven eligible practices include rain barrels, cisterns, urban tree canopy, rain gardens, pavement removal, permeable pavement, and green roofs.

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4. Participate in Prince George’s County Litter Reduction Mini Grant Program

The Prince George’s County Litter Reduction and Citizen Engagement Mini Grant Program provides communities with resources to keep their neighborhoods clean and beautiful. Community organizations may request up to $2,500 to support litter reduction projects. Example projects include litter cleanups that engage students and businesses, “Adopt-a-Stream” projects to remove litter from a local stream, and storm drain stenciling projects where art is used to educate residents about the importance of keeping litter out of the storm drains. If you are a resident and want to get your neighborhood involved, we encourage you to contact your homeowner’s association, civic association, or other community group and share this opportunity.

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Rain Gardens Beautify Your Home and Benefit the Environment

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Rain gardens have numerous benefits to the environment and communities. They help reduce stormwater runoff and keep pollutants from entering our streams and rivers. In addition, they provide habitat and food sources for a variety of beneficial species like birds and butterflies. Rain gardens also provide homeowners and other property owners with an attractive alternative to traditional lawns and can reduce stormwater problems such as ponding water or erosion.

A rain garden is a planted shallow depression that contains water-tolerant native plants. Rain gardens are designed to capture stormwater runoff that flows across impervious surfaces such as roofs and parking lots. They slow down stormwater runoff and allow it to soak and infiltrate into the ground. This prevents polluted runoff from rushing down the street into storm drains and into our rivers. Though rain gardens capture stormwater runoff, they do not hold water for more than 48 hours and therefore do not breed mosquitoes, which is a common misconception. The native plants in rain gardens are adapted to local soil and climate conditions and require less watering and fertilizing. Butterfly milkweed is an example of a native plant in the Chesapeake Bay region. Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on the leaves of milkweed and as such, milkweed is critical for their survival. Planting milkweed in rain gardens help support monarch populations.

Click on this image to view a larger version and see how rain gardens work below the soil.

You don’t have to have a green thumb to install a rain garden on your property. Anyone can do it! If you are interested in installing a rain garden or other stormwater practices, many organizations and government agencies offer funding and technical assistance to help you get started. Here are some programs in Maryland that offer rebates or reimbursements for the installation of stormwater practices:

Prince George’s County Rain Check Rebate Program

The Chesapeake Bay Trust is proud to partner with the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment on their Rain Check Rebate Program. For homeowners and other property owners in Prince George’s County, rain gardens are one of seven eligible stormwater practices that can be installed to receive reimbursement through this program. For this program, rain gardens should total at least 100 square feet, be placed at least 10 feet away from foundations, and be placed at the bottom of a sloped area where water naturally flows and collects. Refer to this rain garden fact sheet to learn more.

Homeowners may also be able to receive a reduction on their Clean Water Act Fee by directing a downspout into the rain garden. By directing the downspout into the rain garden, the runoff that flows off your rooftop will flow directly into the rain garden and be able to soak and filter into the ground, instead of flowing onto the street, into a storm drain, and into our streams.

In addition to rain gardens, other eligible practices include rain barrels, cisterns, urban tree canopy, pavement removal, permeable pavement, and green roofs. Homeowners, businesses, and other eligible applicants can install one or more of these stormwater practices to help reduce stormwater runoff and improve local waterways in the County. These stormwater practices also have the added benefit of beautifying the property.

The Prince George’s County Rain Check Rebate Program is currently open and accepting applications on a rolling basis.

Learn More and Apply