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Kayleigh Katzenberger

$7.7 Million Awarded for 36 Tree-Planting Projects in Underserved Areas Throughout Maryland.

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On Monday, October 17th, the Trust celebrated the first of many tree plantings of the Urban Tree Program at a press event that was held at the Harlem and Denison Pocket Park in Baltimore. The Urban Trees program is a new effort created by the Maryland General Assembly’s Tree Solutions Now Act of 2021 and state resources provided through the Chesapeake Bay Trust (the Trust).   The Act calls for five million trees to be planted across Maryland by 2031, with 500,000 of them targeted to urban, underserved areas.

Tree Planted at the Harlem and Denison Pocket Park in Baltimore.

Urban trees have significant benefits to human health, climate, the economy, and the environment. Yet some urban communities are severely lacking in greening, contributing to heat island effect, exacerbating asthma and other health issues, and reducing quality of life.  Providing resources through ground-up, community-based grants empowers people to own this piece of community improvement, leading to sustainability.

The Urban Trees program started with the Maryland General Assembly; it was called on to green communities. To do this the program hopes to enhance the quality of life, human health, community livability, by improving air quality and reducing the urban heat island effect, and mitigating some of the effects of climate change. Ninety million dollars per year over nine years will be distributed by the Trust to communities, neighborhoods, civic groups, schools, and others who commit to planting trees in underserved regions as defined in the legislation. Funding is reserved for urban census tracts with low median household income levels, with high unemployment, or were historically red-lined or for public housing projects.

Many projects have begun to break ground in the past couple of weeks, and many plan to do so soon. Projects such as Blue Water Baltimore (BWB) and University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) are hosting tree plantings and calling for volunteers to assist.

BWB is planting trees in the Irvington and Violetville Neighborhoods in Baltimore City. They were awarded $342,444 to plant 600 trees across four West Baltimore neighborhoods. The plantings will occur on multiple days and welcome volunteers with any skill level. To volunteer or support any of these events individuals are asked to visit to register. See below for dates and times.

Planting dates and times for Irvington:

  • 11/12/22 9am-12pm
  • 11/15/22 11am-2pm

Planting dates and times for Violetville:

  • 11/17/22 11am-2pm

UMB was awarded $39,289 to plant trees across their campus. They are holding a tree planting event on 11/10 from 10am – 12pm. To sign up to volunteer please visit this website

To learn more about the Urban Trees program please visit

Plastic Free July

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Plastic Free July is a global movement that challenges people to be an active participant in the solution to plastic pollution. It encourages people to use less single use plastics in their everyday use whether its at home, work, school, or at local shops and cafes.

Here are some easy ways you can participate during July and even ways to change your overall lifestyle to make it plastic free.

BYO Straw

  • When at a restaurant, café, or anywhere that serves drinks decline the plastic straws provided make a plastic free choice of bringing your own reusable alternative such as metal and silicone straws.


  • When shopping, bring your own reusable shopping bag to carry your items instead of using the plastic bags provided. Reusable bags are mainly used for grocery shopping, but they can apply to all shopping trips. There are many different types of reusable bags made from different types of material. Look into the different options to see which would work best for your needs! We have some convenient canvas totes available at

Fresh Produce and Meats

  • Avoid plastic packaging when buying fresh fruits, veggies, meats, and deli items. The best way to do this is to avoid pre-packaged foods. When opting for the loose produce choose to pack it in a reusable produce bag rather than the plastic bags provided by the store. When shopping for meat, fish and deli products opt to shop at a local butcher that offers unpackaged items and bring your own reusable container along with you to package them yourself.

BYO Bottle

  • Avoid using disposable, single-use, plastic water bottles and instead opt for a reusable one when available. There are many environmentally friendly options such as stainless steel, glass, and safe aluminum. If you forget your bottle at home don’t fret, just refill a plastic bottle as needed and turn it into a multi-use product. Check out some of our stainless steel drinkware HERE!

The Four R’s

  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Refuse. Start by reducing what you buy. Before you buy something be sure you really need it or consider if there is a more sustainable alternative such as repurposing a similar item or shopping secondhand. If there is no other alternative to buying a new plastic container or item, try and make the most out of it and use it as many times as possible before properly disposing of it. Learn more about recycling in your area and to be sure to recycle correctly. When the option arises try to purchase products made from recycled materials. Lastly, but certainly not least, REFUSE. If offered, refuse single-use plastic by asking if they have an eco-friendlier option (and if not, that’s why you BYO!).

Going plastic free can seem tough at first but by learning simple ways to get started and finding what works best for you being plastic free can become a lifestyle and not just a yearly month-long challenge.

Read more about what you can do to be plastic free at

Read about how our own President, Jana Davis, went plastic free in this article from the Capital Gazette.

See what our grantees and friends are doing to go plastic free this July!

Centro de Apoyo Familiar Connects Latino and Immigrant Communities with Prince George’s County Resources and Programs

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Stormwater runoff is rain or melted snow that runs off surfaces such as parking lots and roofs and flows across the land into storm drains and waterways. As the runoff flows, it picks up and carries with it pollutants like pet waste and litter that negatively impacts our rivers and can have harmful effects on human health.

Prince George’s County, MD has many strategies to address stormwater management issues in the County. Some of these efforts include educating community members about stormwater issues and providing resources for homeowners to install small-scale practices on their property that can help alleviate stormwater runoff at their home.

To help support the County’s efforts, Centro de Apoyo Familiar, or Center for Assistance to Families (CAF), received grant awards in 2017, 2018, and 2021 through the Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program to conduct their Aguas Sanas Familias Sanas (Healthy Waters Healthy Families) program. This program engages and trains Latino church promotoras (community health promoters) to be stormwater leaders in their community. After the promotoras receive training, they then lead workshops to educate residents on local environmental issues, ways to address these issues, and County resources and programs.

One program in particular that CAF highlighted during these trainings was the Prince George’s County Rain Check Rebate Program. This program provides an opportunity for homeowners, businesses, and others to help reduce stormwater runoff in the County and improve local waterways. Through the Rain Check Rebate Program, eligible applicants can receive a reimbursement for installing stormwater practices, like rain barrels, on their property. These stormwater practices help reduce stormwater runoff and its impacts.

To educate the promotoras and community members on this topic, CAF developed presentations and educational materials in Spanish for the training sessions. CAF provided these materials to the promotoras for distribution during workshops with community members. The promotoras participated in two training sessions to learn about stormwater, how it impacts their communities, and how community members can reduce its impact by installing rain barrels and other practices through the Prince George’s County Rain Check Rebate Program.

In 2017

CAF partnered with five churches in Prince George’s County, listed below, to participate in the program. Each church selected a member to act as the promotora, who were then trained by CAF. After the training, the promotoras held a combined total of eight workshops. These workshops engaged a total of 225 families.

  • Casa Hogar Benditos De Mi Padre
  • Iglesia De Dios De La Profecia Nuevo Pacto
  • Iglesia Resturacion
  • Love Without Borders Ministry
  • Ministerio Internacional Evangelico (MIES)

In 2018

CAF partnered with the three churches listed below. The trained promotoras from these churches held workshops that engaged 141 Latino families and provided technical assistance to those interested in applying for the Rain Check Rebate Program.

  • Casa de Restauracion Hispana
  • Centro Cristiano Vida Mueva
  • Ministerio Edificando la Familia

In 2021

CAF partnered with the five churches listed below. CAF trained the promotoras from the churches, who held a combined total of six workshops. These workshops engaged 172 families in the community.

  • Casa de Restauracion
  • Iglesia Acts
  • Iglesia con Poder De Lo Alto
  • Iglesia Restauración Lanham
  • Washington Ghanaian SDA Church

Every year, the results of post-workshop surveys showed an increase in knowledge and interest in how attendees could better protect their environment and help manage stormwater in their day-to-day life. Participants found the workshop to be informative and helped to open their eyes to issues they did not know about prior to the workshop. For example, participants learned how stormwater runoff can cause temporary flooding in their community and how common household pollutants get into local waterways.

Thank you to Centro de Apoyo Familiar for all you do to engage Latino and immigrant communities in environmental stewardship!

To read more about the 2017 project, click here and to learn more about the 2018 project, click here.

Learn about the ways you can help manage stormwater runoff while also beautifying your property by viewing the Chesapeake Stormwater Network’s Homeowner Guide for a More Bay-Friendly Property at

If you live in Prince George’s County, learn how you can participate in the Rain Check Rebate Program by clicking the button below.

Learn more about the Rain Check Rebate Program
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