Chesapeake Bay Trust Blog & News

Meet the design team behind the new Chesapeake Bay license plate

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Creating the new Chesapeake Bay license plate was a true team effort, and one of the keys was the designer behind the process. TM Design is a Maryland-based graphic design firm who took the Bay Plate project to heart, going above and beyond the contract for the Trust. “It’s our Bay, and our state pride, and that was a big motivator,” says founder and president Tina Cardosi. Her firm creates branding materials, websites and marketing collateral and has worked with the American Forest Foundation, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, The Nature Conservancy, National 4-H Council, and more.

According to Executive Director Jana Davis, “the Trust was incredibly fortunate to have found TM Design. Tina and her group have a rare combination of creativity, artistry, responsiveness, customer insight, and collaborative spirit. It was wonderful to work with a group who cared as much, if not more, than we as the client did about the ultimate outcome of the project. They were incredibly tolerant of a long and unorthodox process to create the new design.”

Listen to Jana and Tina talk about the process and how the new license plate was born. Find out more about TM Design on their website and get to know Design Girl on Instagram.

Project Highlight: National Capital Region’s Watershed Stewards Academy

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Watershed Stewards Academy engages residents in watershed issues and solutions to improve communities and local waterways. 

The Watershed Stewards Academy empowers residents all across Maryland and the Washington metropolitan area to become environmental leaders in their community. The program equips participants with the knowledge, tools, and resources to improve their communities and improve local waterways.  

The Academy is offered in several counties in Maryland including Anne Arundel CountyCecil CountyHarford CountyHoward County, and St. Mary’s County. Specifically, the Anacostia Watershed Society leads the Academy for the National Capital Region. With support from a grant award through the Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program, the Anacostia Watershed Society conducted the program for Prince George’s County during the spring and fall of 2018. During the program, participants learned about local environmental issues, specifically stormwater runoff and pollution, how to address these issues in their communities, and existing County resources and programs such as Rain Check Rebate.

The Stewards engage in a variety of service experiences, including the design and implementation of a capstone project that engages their community in reducing stormwater runoff. During the fall of 2018, the Prince George’s County Stewards participated in a replanting of two rain gardens at the Springhill Lake Recreation Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Rain gardens filter polluted runoff, protect streams from flooding and pollution, and attract and provide habitat for pollinators and birds.

Upon completion of the program, participants become certified Master Watershed Stewards. Stewards educate their community about local environmental issues and help reduce polluted runoff by coordinating the installation of rain gardens, rain barrels, and other practices in the community.

The Watershed Stewards Academy’s hands-on certification program provides Stewards with the tools to implement change in their communities. The Anacostia Watershed Society is currently looking for residents to join this year’s National Capital Region Watershed Stewards Academy. Apply today to become a certified Master Watershed Steward in your community!

 

Project Highlight: DuVal High School Courtyard Rain Garden

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DuVal High School in Prince George’s County, Maryland, installs a rain garden on campus to reduce stormwater runoff and provide an outdoor classroom for students.

According to the Educator’s Guide to the Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) , “the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay watershed must be built on the collective wisdom of its citizens and this begins by building the environmental literacy of our youth.” To empower the next generation of environmental stewards, our schools must be equipped to educate our youth on current environmental issues and topics, such as stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff is the fastest growing source of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay and is often a major issue on school campuses. It can cause flooding and standing water, resulting in safety concerns and unusable outdoor learning space. The implementation of stormwater management practices, such as rain gardens, on school campuses has high demonstration and educational value. These practices allow teachers and students to investigate and study environmental topics right on their campus.

DuVal High School, in Lanham, Maryland, for example, installed a rain garden on campus through a grant award provided by the Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program. The rain garden was designed by the Neighborhood Design Center, with staff and student input. Students, teachers, and volunteers planted over 200 native plants that were selected based on the light and soil conditions of the planting site, including black-eyed Susan, Maryland’s state flower. In addition to reducing stormwater runoff on campus, the rain garden is also used by the school as an outdoor classroom, where students can investigate and study water flow, stormwater management, native plants, pollinators, and more. The garden is also used by English and Art classes to inspire poetry and art.

Prior to the installation, DuVal students, teachers, and staff participated in workshops to learn about stormwater runoff, its impact on the health of local rivers and the Chesapeake Bay, and practices they could implement on campus to help improve the health of our waterways. With the help of community partners including the Prince George’s County Public School’s Schmidt Outdoor Education Center, Neighborhood Design Center, Prince George’s County Master Gardeners, and University of Maryland, DuVal staff and students learned how to maintain the rain garden and use it for educational purposes.

Stormwater management practices implemented on school campuses are instrumental tools in connecting our youth with environmental stewardship. They help teachers teach “beyond the textbook” and provide the opportunity for “high-quality teaching and learning by actively engaging students in building knowledge and meaning through hands-on experiences” (Educator’s Guide to the MWEE).

Congrats to DuVal High School for a successful project and thanks for helping teach our youth the value of our natural environment!

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.

Project Highlight: Stormwater Management at Boyd Park in the Town of Cheverly

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The Town of Cheverly in Prince George’s County, Maryland, installs micro-bioretention areas to capture and treat stormwater runoff.

Many communities in Prince George’s County, Maryland, are taking action to improve water quality. For example, communities are installing stormwater management controls to reduce stormwater runoff and pollution to local waterways. When large volumes of stormwater runoff are carried to local streams, it can cause flooding and erosion. It can also wash away important habitat for critters that live in the stream. As stormwater runoff flows across paved surfaces, it picks up and carries with it many different pollutants such as oil and grease from cars, bacteria from pet waste, and trash from littering or improper disposal. Often, the polluted runoff flows directly into our streams and rivers through storm drains.

To reduce the impacts of stormwater runoff, the Town of Cheverly received a grant award through the Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program for stormwater management at Boyd Park. Boyd Park is located in the Lower Beaverdam Creek subwatershed. This subwatershed is the most heavily industrialized within the Maryland portion of the Anacostia watershed. The park is municipally-owned with a playground, basketball and tennis courts, and a three acre nature and fitness trail, making this site a highly visible demonstration area for the installation.

The Town installed two micro-bioretention areas, also referred to as rain gardens, with over 200 native plants and planted 30 native trees in the park. These practices capture and treat stormwater runoff from the parking lot and adjacent roadway, removing pollutants from the water before it flows into local streams and rivers. In addition, native plants such as winterberry provides habitat and food for birds and native trees such as eastern redbud attract pollinators and provide shade. 

The site serves as a demonstration site, with interpretive signage that educates the community about the function of bioretention areas. It will also be used by the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment for Rain Check Rebate Contractor Training sessions. These sessions educate landscape professionals on how to plan, design, construct, and maintain rain gardens and other Rain Check Rebate practices.

During the planning process, the Town acknowledged the park’s existing design and the community’s desire to increase tree canopy. This resulted in a final design that maintains the integrity of the park’s existing design and strategically places the trees in most commonly used areas. These stormwater management practices support the County’s clean water efforts. Also, the native plants and trees add spring flowers and fall foliage to the landscape at Boyd Park.

Congrats to the Town of Cheverly for a successful project!

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.

Now Open! Prince George’s County Litter Reduction and Citizen Engagement Mini Grant Program

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Get the resources you need to make your community cleaner and greener through the Prince George’s County Litter Reduction and Citizen Engagement Mini Grant Program.

According to the Prince George’s County Litter Reduction Campaign, “litter costs [the] County millions of dollars a year, decreases property values, has a negative impact on health and wellness, and threatens wildlife, reservoirs and waterways.” Therefore, “reducing litter is critical to improving the economic, environmental, and social health of [the] County.”

To support and engage County residents in the fight against litter, the Prince George’s County Government and the Chesapeake Bay Trust announce the Prince George’s County Litter Reduction and Citizen Engagement Mini Grant Program.  This program supports community-driven litter reduction and litter-related citizen engagement projects that engage and educate residents, students, and businesses about ways to make their communities cleaner and greener. Communities may request funding for community cleanups, “Adopt-a-Stream” cleanups, storm drain stenciling projects, and more through this program.

Join the fight against litter for a #LitterFreePGC! Contact Nguyen Le at (410) 974-2941 x110 or nle@cbtrust.org if you have questions or to discuss project ideas.

Community-based organizations (homeowner associations, civic associations, and nonprofits) and small municipalities are encouraged to apply. Faith-based organizations interested in participating are encouraged to be a partner for a community group nearby that will serve as the lead on the project. If you are a resident interested in participating, we encourage you to reach out to your community organization and share this opportunity.

Applications for this program will be accepted on an on-going basis until funds for this fiscal year are exhausted. 

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.