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Erin Valentine

Trust Celebrates 2019 Scholarship & Award winners at Annual Legislative Reception

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2019 Chesapeake Bay Trust scholarship and award winners

Last night, the Chesapeake Bay Trust was joined by friends, supporters, and Maryland legislators to celebrate our 2019 scholarship and award winners at our Annual Legislative Reception and Awards Program held at the Maryland General Assembly. During the event, more than 150 environmental leaders and Maryland legislators came together to honor seven remarkable individuals for their outstanding contributions to environmental education, watershed restoration, and volunteerism.

This year’s winners embodied the spirit of the Trust’s family of grantees, who work tirelessly to restore and protect their local natural resources and engage community members in those efforts.

Awards are made each year to two students for environmental and community leadership, to one educator for excellence in environmental education, to one business for green efforts, to one organization for a notable watershed stewardship project, and to one community leader or volunteer who goes routinely above and beyond in improving the streams, rivers, parks, forests, or other natural resource within our watershed.

This year, in addition to these annual awards, the Trust presented the Torrey Brown Award to Senator John C. Astle for his fervent dedication to environmental causes and his steadfast commitment to the Trust as a member of its Board of Trustees. Notably, Senator Astle was instrumental in the establishment of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps, an early career and green jobs training program managed by the Trust, in 2010.

“It is an honor to be among the distinguished recipients who have received this award. It has been a pleasure to collaborate with the Trust over the years and I am proud of the strides we have made on behalf of our natural resources, our communities, and the young people of our region.”

Senator John C. Astle

Chesapeake Bay Trust’s 2019 Award Winners

2019 Torrey Brown Award: The Honorable John C. Astle Maryland Senate, Anne Arundel County

The Torrey Brown Award is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to the Trust and its mission to preserve and protect our region’s natural resources. Senator Astle is being presented with the Torrey Brown Award for his tireless championing of the Chesapeake Bay Trust for sixteen years as the Senate liaison to the Trust’s Board of Trustees. John’s commitment to the Trust has been essential to its success over the years, helping to strengthen and protect the Chesapeake vehicle license plate while expanding the Trust’s ability to provide resources to communities and organizations working to improve our beloved natural resources. Along with Senate President Mike V. Miller, John played a key role in the establishment of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps, a green jobs development program managed by the Trust. Approaching its tenth year, the Chesapeake Conservation Corps has more than 200 alumni, many of whom are now leaders in the environmental field throughout the Chesapeake watershed. John’s legacy at the Trust is that of steadfast champion. The Trust is a better organization because of his leadership and support.

2019 Ellen Fraites Wagner Award: Stuart Clarke Executive Director, Town Creek Foundation, Talbot County

Ellen Fraites Wagner, a colleague of Governor Harry Hughes, helped establish the Chesapeake Bay Trust, and this award, named in her honor, recognizes a natural resources leader who works or volunteers to motivate and inspire others by promoting environmental awareness. Stuart Clarke, in his role as Executive Director of the Town Creek Foundation since October of 2004, has revolutionized the way many individuals in the Chesapeake natural resources community approach issues, delve into topics, and work together. Through his targeting of resources and convening of thought leaders, he has challenged the community to be smarter, work harder, and be more strategic. Through his leadership, other leaders in the natural resource space have learned how to connect climate, water, food security, and other issues and therefore how to expand the work in those realms. An influential member of the Trust’s board for eight years, Clarke’s leadership truly has changed the way almost every other foundation operating in our region (and beyond) approaches their grant-making.

2019 Student of the Year Scholarship: Nicholas Kophengnavong Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, Baltimore City

Nicholas Kophengnavong is a junior at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and has been actively involved in the environmental movement from a young age, joining the Green Team at Commodore John Rodgers Elementary/Middle School at age eight. He was a member of Baltimore Office of Sustainability’s (BOS) first Student Environmental Leadership Action Team (SELAT) and as a sophomore was accepted into BOS’s Youth Environmental Internship program. Since then, he is an active member of Baltimore Beyond Plastic, a youth-led action-oriented team with the goal of reducing plastic pollution in Baltimore which was instrumental in the passage of a citywide Styrofoam ban in April 2018.

2019 The Honorable Arthur Dorman Scholarship: Maleah Smith Huntingtown High School, Calvert County

This award was named after Senator Arthur Dorman, Trust board member and pioneer in efforts to engage individuals of color in natural resources issues, and is awarded to a student of color who is active in connecting environment and community issues. This year’s awardee, Maleah Smith, is a senior at Huntingtown High School in Calvert County. As a varsity basketball player and track athlete, Maleah was acutely aware of an environmental issue at her school: plastic water bottle waste. Last year, she spearheaded an initiative to cut down on plastic water bottle waste in the Calvert County Public School system, successfully proposing the installation of drinking fountains with water bottle refilling stations to the county Board of Education. As a result of her efforts, water bottle refilling stations have been placed in the Board of Education building and all four county high schools, with plans to add more to the middle and elementary schools. To date over 50,000 plastic water bottles have stayed out of the landfill and students are more aware of the harmful effects of disposable plastic waste. In addition to her leadership as a student athlete, Maleah is active in the Student Government Association, a member of the National Honor Society, a peer-to-peer tutor with Transitioning to Excellence, and a volunteer with the Sierra Club.

2019 Educator of the Year: Kimberly P. Tucker, PhD Director, Stevenson University Center for Environmental Stewardship; Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, Baltimore County

The Environmental Educator of the Year is awarded to a K-12 or college educator who has shown an outstanding commitment to environmental education. Dr. Kimberly Pause Tucker’s research with students focuses on various topics in molecular ecology. Her teaching responsibilities at Stevenson University include Evolution, Conservation Biology, and Diversity of Life. She is passionate about education and has dedicated much of her career to STEM and environmental outreach. Since 2012, she has directed an annual STEM career day for middle school girls called Expanding Your Horizons, directed a summer science camp for middle school children for five years, and was also part of the small team on the Steering Committee who developed the inaugural Maryland STEM Festival (2015). In her role as the founding Director of the Stevenson University Center for Environmental Stewardship, she hosts environmental service projects, such as stream cleanups, invasive plant removal projects, and more. Dr. Tucker’s work is nurturing the next generation of environmental stewards and is an inspiration to both her students and her colleagues.

2019 Commercial Stewards Award: Irish Restaurant Company, Anne Arundel County

This award, established to honor previous Chairpersons of the Chesapeake Bay Trust, recognizes an outstanding corporate or commercial entity that strives to make a difference in the community, has made a significant contribution to natural resource restoration and protection in the Chesapeake region, and engages its employees and members of the community in environmental issues. The Irish Restaurant Company is known throughout the region for their family of beloved restaurants, including Galway Bay in Annapolis; Killarney House in Davidsonville; Brian Boru in Severna Park; and Pirate’s Cove, their newest addition on the West River in Galesville. Since the founding of their first restaurant in 1998, owners Anthony Clarke and Michael Galway have also earned a reputation for their commitment to the environment, their community, and to promoting green practices in their businesses. They strive to reduce their carbon footprint through numerous initiatives, including nearly eliminating plastic used in the service and packaging of products and menu items; limiting the use of drinking straws to only those who really need them; introducing water saving practices through low flow sprayers and efficient water heaters, and more. The Killarney House property is a showcase for their environmental ethos, featuring solar panels (both thermal and PV applications) and a large-scale stormwater practice, funded in part through a Trust grant program, which prevents substantial polluted runoff from reaching Beards Creek.

2019 Melanie Teems Award: Frederick Food Security Network Frederick County

Named after the longest-serving staff member of the Trust, this award recognizes an exemplary project or program that engages residents in efforts to improve the region’s natural resources, serving as a model for other organizations. Frederick Food Security Network is a program of the Hood College Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies that takes an innovative approach to addressing urgent environmental and community challenges that represent the best of creative problem solving and community collaboration. By working with community partners to establish a network of “vegetable rain gardens” in Frederick, they are improving food security for residents of local food deserts, reducing local water pollution by diverting rooftop runoff for use as irrigation, and promoting better eating habits and environmental stewardship in the Frederick community.

Ways to Give this Holiday Season

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Four Ways to Make and Impact for a Cleaner, Greener Watershed 

Each year, the Chesapeake Bay Trust provides resources to hundreds of communities throughout Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay watershed for projects big and small.

This means that people in your community are making a BIG difference for our waterways, our forests and parks, and our schools and neighborhoods with just a little bit of help from the Trust.

As we enter the holiday giving season, we are so thankful for supporters like you! We can’t do our work without your support!

Below are several ways that you can support the Trust this holiday season.

1. Make a Gift

Chesapeake Bay Trust supporters kicked off the holiday season with a bang on#GivingTuesday. Thanks to you we more than exceeded our Giving Tuesday goals!

But we still have a way to go to meet our goals for the year!

Gifts to the Chesapeake Bay Trust support projects to green local parks, add trees to urban neighborhoods, remove trash that chokes tiny streams, send students on life-changing outdoor experiences, and more.

You can make your gift to the Chesapeake Bay Trust this holiday season at www.cbtrust.org/make-a-gift.

2. Shop AmazonSmile

When you’re shopping for that perfect holiday gift—or even if you’re just stocking up on household goods—be sure to shop through Amazon Smile at smile.amazon.com/ch/52-1454182. When you do, Amazon donates a percentage of every purchase to the Trust! 

Checking items off your holiday to-do list and making a difference for the Bay has never been so easy!

3. Get Your Bay Plate

Did you know Chesapeake Bay license plates help restore the Chesapeake Bay and other natural resources of our region?

Simply by purchasing a Chesapeake Bay plate for only $20, car owners can show their support for the environment. Your contribution is distributed through the Trust in the form of grants to schools, community groups, and other not-for-profits for K-12 environmental education, restoration and protection of our waterways.

Learn more at www.bayplate.org and order your plate from the MVA here.

4. Contribute through the Maryland Outdoor Recreation and Clean Water Fund

Calling all boaters, hunters, and anglers! Did you know that when you obtain your registration or licenses through Maryland Department of Natural Resources Compass online registration system you can now make a contribution to support fish and wildlife habitat, clean water,wetlands, and K-12 student field trips. Donations to the new Maryland Outdoor Recreation and Clean Water Fund will be equally distributed as grants to not-for-profit entities through the Chesapeake Bay Trust and DNR, with an average of 95 cents of every dollar spent on programs.

Learn more about this new program here.

Please know that however you contribute to the Trust this holiday season, you are making a difference for a cleaner, greener, healthier watershed. And you can rest assured that your contribution will be used wisely for what you intended: 92 cents of every dollar we receive goes directly to projects and educational programs in the community.

Chesapeake Conservation Corps Profile: Jesus Munoz Buenrostro & Southeast Community Development Corporation

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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.

Jesus Munoz Buenrostro grew up in Baltimore and is currently a senior at the University of Baltimore, studying Environmental Sustainability and Human Ecology.

Last year, he served as a Legislative and Community Engagement intern with the Baltimore City Council, where he was able to advocate and gather support in Southeast Baltimore for the polystyrene ban. Most recently, he gained experience in the conservation field working for the National Aquarium as an Urban Conservation and Education intern, where he worked on restoration projects, invasive species management, and community outreach events with the National Aquarium, U.S Fish and Wildlife Services, and the Living Classrooms Foundation.

As a Chesapeake Conservation Corps member, Jesus is working with the Southeast Community Development Corporation (Southeast CDC), a nonprofit, community-based organization dedicated to growing and supporting a thriving socioeconomically and racially diverse Southeast Baltimore where residents share in the success and improvement of their communities.

Southeast CDC operates a number of community revitalization programs in the Highlandtown area of Baltimore, including partnering with a wide variety of environmental organizations, such as Blue Water Baltimore, the Parks and People Foundation, and the Chesapeake Bay Trust to reduce storm water runoff and increase the tree canopy in southeast Baltimore, offering Jesus the chance to work on community engagement events, environmental education, and conservation projects during his year of service.

Chesapeake Conservation Corps Profile: Kelly Peaks & Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland

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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.

Kelly Peaks graduated from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, in May 2018, with a B.S. in Environmental Science with a concentration in Policy and a minor in music.

As a member of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps, Kelly is working with the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland, which is one of ten University-based centers across the country providing communities with the tools and information necessary to manage change for a healthy environment and an enhanced quality of life.

Kelly is assisting with the Center’s Sustainable Maryland Program; a certification program for municipalities in Maryland that want to go green, save money, and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term.

In addition to assisting in the Sustainable Maryland certification process of select municipalities, Kelly will also assist with the pet waste program, developing new actions in the certification process, preparing small water systems resilience workshops, and preparing and hosting program events.

In 2019, Kelly hopes to build on her experience in the Chesapeake Conservation Corps by attending graduate school to study international issues related to climate change.

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.

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.

Project Highlight: Borough of Chambersburg’s Rhodes Drive Reconstruction and Bioretention Basin

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These little projects matter.

Richard L. Alloway IIPennsylvania State Senator

“Green Streets” grant helps Borough upgrade central emergency route while improving water quality

This week the Trust joined the Borough of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in celebrating the dedication of their Rhodes Drive Reconstruction and Bioretention Basin project, which was funded in part through a Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns grant.

Rhodes Drive is centrally located within the Borough, adjacent to the local library, a senior living facility, and a municipal parking lot. Although it is a one-way street, the Chambersburg Emergency Services Department uses the road to respond to calls on the south side of the Borough, with emergency vehicles traveling the street 15-20 times a day. Therefore, it is crucial that Rhodes Drive remains safe and accessible. It is also an important community asset; when it is not being used as an emergency route, it serves as a staging area for several charity run/walk events, Borough parades, and other events.

Prior to initiating this project, Rhodes Drive was in extremely poor condition—inspections revealed significant heaving (a serious issue for an emergency route) and multiple stormwater inlets that discharged directly into Falling Spring Creek (a noted trout stream), which flows into Conococheague Creek, then on to the Potomac River, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.

Under the direction of the Borough’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Department, the Borough undertook a comprehensive green and gray infrastructure project to address both the structural and environmental issues associated with Rhodes Drive’s poor condition. The reconstructed roadway was funded with grants through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Franklin County Conservation District.

Funding from the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns grant program, a partnership between the Trust, U.S. EPA Mid-Atlantic Region, City of Baltimore Office of Sustainability, with support from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, enabled the Borough to enhance the project with a bioretention basin, a stormwater best management practice (BMP) designed to catch and treat the first flush of polluted stormwater, running the full length of the street. The basin is planted with native, pollinator-friendly plants that will help to absorb nutrients before the water runs into the adjacent stream. The Green Streets funding also enabled the Borough to replace the sidewalk with a winding park path of permeable pavers, which removes impervious surface, enhances the adjacent park, and improves access to the green space for the residents of the nearby senior living facility.

Rhodes Drive is now the first official “Green Street” in the Borough, which has plans to continue incorporating green infrastructure into future projects.

According to Borough Manager Jeffrey Stonehill, “the Borough is hoping to set a positive trend and important precedent with the Rhodes Drive infrastructure improvements, as the project was the first MS4 Department storm sewer project to incorporate “green” BMPs. We want to demonstrate how public works projects can be effective and good for the environment.”

Learn more about the Borough of Chambersburg and the Rhodes Drive project here and here.

Learn about the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns grant program here.

Welcome Chesapeake Conservation Corps Class of 2019! And congrats to the Class of 2018!

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Maryland's future is bright green.

Maryland Environment Secretary Ben GrumblesGraduation speaker for the Chesapeake Conservation Corps Class of 2017-2018

This week the Trust celebrated the incoming and outgoing Chesapeake Conservation Corps classes with the annual “Passing of the Golden Shovel” ceremony, a focal point of a day of celebration and training held at YMCA’s Camp Letts in Edgewater, Md. At the event, the 38 2018-2019 Corps participants met their host organizations to learn more about their job responsibilities for the upcoming year. The ceremony also served as a graduation for the 42 members of the outgoing Corps class who wrapped up their year of service this month. The day’s guest speakers included Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr.; Senator John Astle; Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles; John Quinn, Director of Governmental and External Affairs, BGE; Ernestine White, National Youth Employment Programs Coordinator, National Park Service; and Trust Board Chair Ben Wechsler.

The Chesapeake Conservation Corps is a green jobs program created by the Maryland Legislature to educate and train the next generation of environmental stewards. The program matches young people ages 18-25 with nonprofit and government organizations for paid, one-year terms of service, focused on improving local communities and protecting natural resources.

During their year of service, Chesapeake Conservation Corps members gain valuable on-the-job experience as they work to advance environmental conservation, K-12 education, energy efficiency programs, sustainable agriculture practices, and a host of other environmentally-focused initiatives.

“The Chesapeake Conservation Corps’ impact on our communities and our environment multiplies with each new class of Corps members,” said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., the initiator of the program in 2010. “We have reached a point where members of the Corps’ first classes are now leaders in environmental organizations throughout our region. I am proud of the investment we are making in them and the future of the green economy in our state.”

The program has a consistent track record of placing graduates in full-time positions upon completion of the program, with many Corps members in each graduating class hired directly by their host organizations, often into brand new positions.

“Since its creation, the Chesapeake Conservation Corps has been a launching pad for environmental careers throughout our state,” said Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton. “It is vital that we continue to grow our green workforce through programs like this. The work that these young people are undertaking and the issues they are trying to address are critical to the health and future of our environment and natural resources. The department has been fortunate to host a number of bright and talented Corps members over the years. We have seen firsthand that the training they receive is top-notch and their energy and enthusiasm is boundless.”

The program has become more popular with potential host organizations each year since its initiation in 2010 because of the quality of the young people who serve.  Three times as many host organizations seek Corps members than resources can support.  The Corps members’ stipends are supported by the Chesapeake Bay Trust (and the Bay Plate license plate program) and their partners, providing host organizations with added capacity at little added cost.

Partner funders include the State of Maryland, BGE an Exelon Company, and the U.S. National Park Service. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Adkins Arboretum, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Department of the Environment, South River Federation, and Maryland Coastal Bays Program also contributed matching funds for the program this year.

“The National Park Service is proud to once again be supporting the Chesapeake Conservation Corps,” said George McDonald, U.S. National Park Service Youth Programs Manager. “These young people are embarking on a truly unique career-building experience that will ultimately benefit all of us as they learn and teach others the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation.”

“BGE has been a proud supporter of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps for many years because we care about the health of our communities and our natural resources,” said John Quinn of BGE, a key funder of the program.  “We understand the importance of developing leaders who value our natural resources and have the experience and perspective to be good stewards. The Corps program prepares young people to enter the workforce in all sectors: nonprofit, government, and corporate as well.”

During the course of the year, Corps participants work directly with their host organizations, receive extensive job trainings hosted by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, and gain experience in grant writing and project management through a capstone project.

“Continuing the progress that has been made in restoring the health of the Chesapeake depends on educating and training the next generation of environmental leaders,” said Jana Davis, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust. “The Chesapeake Conservation Corps prepares young people with the skills and experience that are needed to keep the momentum going.”

The 2018-2019 Chesapeake Conservation Corps class includes the following individuals and their host organizations:

  1. Travis Anthony, National Aquarium, Baltimore City
  2. Michael Bowman, U.S. National Park Service, Anne Arundel County
  3. Kaila Cavanaugh, Accokeek Foundation, Prince George’s County
  4. Emily Castle, Adkins Arboretum, Caroline County
  5. Evan Claggett, Environmental Concern, Talbot County
  6. Megan Davis, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Biological Stream Survey, Anne Arundel County
  7. Jennifer Duvall, Patapsco Heritage Greenway, Howard County
  8. Brianna Fragata, Maryland Coastal Bays Program, Worcester County
  9. Leah Franzluebbers, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Anne Arundel County
  10. Brittany Furlong, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Biological Stream Survey, Anne Arundel County
  11. Justin Gallardo, Uptown Metro Ministry Group, Baltimore City
  12. Sarah Grossweiler, Maryland Department of the Environment, Baltimore City
  13. Thomas Heffernan, Living Classrooms Foundation, Baltimore City
  14. Lucy Heller, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Anne Arundel County
  15. Kelly Johnson, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Anne Arundel County
  16. Andrew Jones, Town of Edmonston, Prince George’s County
  17. Shayna Keller, South River Federation, Anne Arundel County
  18. Jay Kinnaman, Maryland Environmental Service, Anne Arundel County
  19. Alexander Kirchhof, Mayor and City Council of Cumberland, Allegany County
  20. Amy Kochel, Susquehanna Heritage Corporation, Pennsylvania
  21. Connor Liu, The Nature Conservancy, Allegany County
  22. Jamie Mancini, Sultana Education Foundation, Kent County
  23. Rory Maymon, Maryland Department of the Environment , Baltimore City
  24. Syler Merski, Friends of Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, Calvert County
  25. Jesus Munoz Buenrostro, Southeast Community Development Corporation, Baltimore City
  26. Kelly Peaks, University of Maryland, Environmental Finance Center, Prince George’s County
  27. Rachel Plescha, ShoreRivers, Talbot County
  28. Arianna Russo, Maryland Coastal Bays Program, Worcester County
  29. Marissa Sayers, Central Baltimore Partnership, Baltimore City
  30. Cheyenne Sebold, C&O Canal Trust, Washington County
  31. Dominic Serino, Audubon Maryland-DC, Baltimore City
  32. Justin Shapiro, National Wildlife Federation, Anne Arundel County
  33. Nathaniel Simmons, Adkins Arboretum, Caroline County
  34. Bradley Simpson, Audubon Naturalist Society, Montgomery County
  35. Alexa Stillwell, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Anne Arundel County
  36. Thomas Urban, Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks, Howard County
  37. Tanisha Washington, Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, Baltimore City
  38. Olivia Wisner, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (CBNERR), Anne Arundel County