Chesapeake Bay Trust Blog & News

Check It to Protect It: Tax Time is for Conservation

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Chesapeake Bay Trust Logo    Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Check It to Protect It:

Tax Time is for Conservation

Donations made to the Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species Fund through Maryland’s income tax check-off program support education, community stewardship, and Bay restoration efforts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Cynamon Butler, cbutler@cbtrust.org, 410-974-2941 ext. 114 or 919-669-9531

(Annapolis, MD) February 17, 2021 – Tax season is here, and Marylanders can help protect one of our state’s greatest natural treasures, the Chesapeake Bay and its wildlife, by making a tax-deductible contribution to line 35, the Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species Fund, on the Maryland tax form.

Where does the money go? The Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species Fund was created to support Bay restoration and education programs and to protect Maryland’s rare, threatened, and endangered species. The fund is split evenly between the Chesapeake Bay Trust, a highly rated nonprofit organization, and the Wildlife and Heritage Division of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The line on the state income tax form allows Marylanders to quickly and easily donate to help the Bay and conserve Maryland’s native wildlife and endangered species. Nearly $1 million was contributed through the 2019 tax check-off, which funded Bay restoration initiatives, community stewardship projects, and environmental education programs across Maryland from the mountains to the ocean.
Now more than ever, it is important to protect – and visit – our natural resources. Many outdoor spaces, such as state parks, saw a significant increase in visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic when indoor venues like movie theaters and the mall were off limits.

“More and more people are beginning to understand what science has shown us for decades: People who spend time outdoors are healthier, which means they likely have fewer underlying conditions, which means they are poised to be able to withstand attacks like COVID-19 better,” said Jana Davis, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust. “We need to make sure ALL of our residents have access to healthy, clean, green outdoor spaces and that we work to solve any disparities in this access, and contributions to this fund can help.”

Launched in 1990, the Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species Fund is one of the most successful voluntary tax check-off programs in the nation. Last year, more than 30,000 Maryland state income tax statements were returned with contributions to the fund. To make your contribution, simply complete line 35 on your Maryland state income tax form or ask your certified public accountant or tax preparer. Donations of any dollar amount can be made and all are tax deductible. For more information on the Chesapeake Bay Trust, visit www.cbtrust.org/taxdonation, or for details on the Department of Natural Resource’s Wildlife and Heritage Division, visit www.dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife.

Additionally, Certified Public Accountants and tax preparers have joined in on restoration efforts to improve the health of the Bay and conserve our at-risk species through the CPAs for a Healthy Bay program led by the Chesapeake Bay Trust. If you would like to work with a Bay-friendly CPA this tax season, or if you are a CPA who would like to participate in this program, visit www.cbtrust.org/cpas to learn more.

About the Chesapeake Bay Trust
The Chesapeake Bay Trust (www.cbtrust.org) is a nonprofit grant-making organization established by the Maryland General Assembly dedicated to improving the natural resources of Maryland and the Chesapeake region through environmental education, community engagement, and local watershed restoration. The Trust’s grantees engage hundreds of thousands of individuals annually in projects that have a measurable impact on the waterways and other natural resources of the region. The Trust is supported by the sale of the Chesapeake Bay license plate, donations to the Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species Fund on the Maryland State income tax form, donations from individuals and corporations, and partnerships with private foundations and federal, state, and local governments. The Trust has received the highest rating from Charity Navigator for sixteen years. On average, 90 percent of the Trust’s expenditures are directed to its restoration and education programs.

About the Wildlife and Heritage Division of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources
The Wildlife and Heritage Service regularly reviews its database to determine areas it considers priorities for acquisition to maintain the quality of the unusual ecosystems, natural communities, or habitats for rare species. These recommendations are used by Maryland Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, and other conservation organizations interested in purchasing ecologically significant properties. The Department of Natural Resources receives dedicated funding, through a very small percentage of the real estate transfer tax, called the Heritage Conservation Fund to be used specifically for the purchase of important natural areas harboring habitats for rare species or unique natural communities.

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Maryland Outdoor Spaces – Legislator Favorites

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Maryland Outdoor Spaces – Legislator Favorites

On January 21, 2021, more than 60 legislators attended the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s virtual legislative reception. They were invited to share some of their favorite outdoor spots in their districts and throughout Maryland. Their contributions were so wonderful that we were asked to compile them and send them to attendees. As Senate President Bill Ferguson said, “Our parks are those spaces that bring Marylanders together to get that fundamental belief in love of family, of friends, of each other.” “Our 6,400 parks and green spaces are a great way to boost your mental and overall health” added House Speaker Adrienne Jones. Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Jeanne Haddaway-Riccio reminded us all how diverse Maryland is, and we see this in the list of favorite spots below.

The sites on the list below are not exhaustive, but were those suggested by legislators and guests present that evening as places they visit to get outdoors and feel refreshed and recharged. The entries include a word or two about the site, the name of the legislator suggesting the site, and a website for more information.

Anne Arundel County

Thomas Point Park

B&A Trail, great for walking, biking, rollerblading, and more, stretches from Boulters Way in Annapolis to Dorsey Road in Glen Burnie, Maryland. The Earleigh Heights Ranger Station (ca. 1889) is located in Severna Park with parking available on the premises. A gazebo, horticultural gardens and park benches are found at the Hatton-Regester Green property in Severna Park – Senator Pam Beidle

BWI Trail picks up from the Dorsey Road end of the B&A Trail and circles BWI Airport for an additional 12 miles of paved trail. A parking lot and playground are located at the Thomas A. Dixon Observation Area. Several scenic views of the BWI Airport are found along this loop trail. – Senator Pam Beidle

Thomas Point Park – This park boasts a beautiful view of a lighthouse. “A silver lining of the struggles over the last year is that we have renewed interest in and passion for outdoors and green spaces, specifically those that are accessible that have an eye towards equity. It’s good not just for the bay but for health in general.” – Senator Sarah Elfreth

Tolly Point Shoal offers a great spot for fishing – Delegate Dana Jones

Lake Ogleton offers a great spot to fish, crab, and kayak. You can see lots of nesting ospreys in the right season. – Delegate Dana Jones

Truxton Park offers a mile and a half hiking trail and a boat launch ramp. – Delegate Shaneka Henson

 

Baltimore City

Loch Raven Reservoir is one of the most pristine outdoor locations in the Baltimore metropolitan area, with resplendent plants and wildlife and beautiful water vistas, where visitors can enjoy miles of hiking trails that wind their way along the banks of the reservoir. Hikers and bikers can expect to see a wide variety of birds, including ravens, cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers, and even bald eagles, as well as a lush and varied array of plants and trees, including oaks, beeches, maples, poplars, raspberries, and wild roses. – Speaker Adrienne Jones

Patterson Park Pagoda. The pagoda (1891) is one of Senate President Bill Ferguson’s favorite spots in Patterson Park, a historic site important in the War of 1812 which is now frequented by neighborhood schools and churches for its athletic fields and is home to one of the two ice rinks available in the city. –Senate President Bill Ferguson

Patterson Park Pagoda

Patterson Park Pagoda

Jones Falls Trail is a 10-mile hiking biking trail along the Jones Falls that wraps around Druid Hill Reservoir. – Delegate Maggie McIntosh

Stoney Run. Beautiful stream that runs through Baltimore, go over a bridge, and into Wyman Park area. – Delegate Maggie McIntosh

Druid Hill Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the same planner that designed Central Park in New York City. It is the third oldest public park in the United States. – Delegate Maggie McIntosh. 

Clifton Park https://parkrxamerica.org/

Clifton Park is one of the historic parks in Baltimore City. It offers a lot of amenities, including gardens and paths. – Delegate Dana Stein 

Lake Montebello is a great 1.4-mile loop trail good for running and biking. – Delegate Dana Stein. 

Patterson Park neighborhoods have become greener through various community efforts and are a great place to take a lovely walk. There is “strengthened social fabric through greening.” – Delegate Robbyn Lewis

Wyman Park is described as a 16-acre urban sanctuary. “We all want to be outside. We all want fresh air. We all want green space.” – Delegate Regina T. Boyce

Herring Run Park consists of 375 acres of woodlands that extends 2.3 miles from Morgan State University to I-895, also designed by the Olmsted brothers. – Delegate Regina T. Boyce

Walking the Olmsted – You can take a self-guided tour that visits various historical, cultural and scenic points of interest – Delegate Regina T. Boyce 

 

Baltimore County

Irvine Nature Center boasts 200 acres of meadows, woodlands, and wetlands and a great environmental education center. – Delegate Dana Stein 

Radebaugh Park, Towson opened at the beginning of the pandemic. Green Towson Alliance (GTA), state, and local government partnership. GTA working on the “Six Bridges Trail” to connect neighborhoods along the Herring Run to the new park – Delegate Cathi Forbes

Patapsco Valley State Park

Patapsco Valley State Park extends along 32 miles of the Patapsco River, encompassing 16,043 acres and eight developed recreational areas. Recreational opportunities include hiking, fishing, camping, canoeing, horseback and mountain bike trails – Delegate Sheila Ruth 

Patapsco Valley State Park – Cascade Trail in the Avalon area. A bonus is the nearby swinging bridge – Delegate Courtney Watson

Catonsville Rails to Trails converts abandoned rail and trolley lines to hiking trails. – Delegate Shelia Ruth

Soldiers Delight is a 1900-acre space boasting over 39 rare, threatened and endangered plant species and 7 miles of trails. – Delegate Benjamin Brooks

Gunpowder Falls State Park covers over 18,000 acres in Harford and Baltimore Counties and hosts a varied topography, ranging from tidal wetlands to steep and rugged slopes. The park features more than 120 miles of multi-use trails, wildlands, historic sites, fishing, kayaking, canoeing and a swimming beach and marina – Delegate Ric Metzger

Gunpowder Falls State Park, photo provided by DNR

Cox’s Point State Park is a 25.9-acre waterfront park offering fishing, a boat ramp, picnicking and more. Eastern Baltimore County boasts 250 miles of shoreline: “During this pandemic I’ve been getting my coffee…I’ve been going to the park and just sitting in the park and breathing the fresh air.” – Delegate Ric Metzger

Fort Howard State Park’s historical significance is its connection with the largest invasion of the United States in history in 1814. The British had landed about seven thousand men near the site that later became Fort Howard – Delegate Ric Metzger

 

Calvert County

Calvert Cliffs State Park and nearby Flag Ponds Nature Park offer stunning views and fossil hunting that attracts visitors from all over the country. “I am honored to have Calvert Cliffs in my district, with its beautiful views, and serene, peaceful setting. I am happy to know people were able to take advantage of this wonderful resource during this difficult time.” – Senator Jack Bailey  

Charles County

Nanjemoy Creek WMA is mostly forested, providing opportunity to see white-tailed deer, turkey, and forest interior dwelling birds. Along the marsh, herons, bald eagles, osprey, migratory songbirds, raccoons, otters and muskrat are some of the wildlife that you might see – Senator Arthur Ellis. 

Smallwood State Park, a 628-acre park, offers a marina, boat launching ramps, a picnic area, camping area, pavilions, a recycled tire playground and nature trails – Senator Arthur Ellis 

Mallows Bay

Mallows Bay is home to nearly 200 historic shipwrecks dating from the Revolutionary War through the present, known as the “Ghost Fleet” of Mallows Bay. The best way to see the site is by kayak – Senator Arthur Ellis

Indian Head Rail Trail offers 16-17 miles walking and hiking and birding (eagles, wild turkeys). We do need to make sure that everyone has the ability to easily visit some of these beautiful and health-improving sites. “We have to make sure that these beautiful sites are accessible to all our citizens as an environmental justice issue.” – Senator Arthur Ellis 

 

Frederick County

C&O Canal – The C&O Canal National Historic Park extends along the Potomac River shoreline from Washington, D.C., to Cumberland, MD. The Canal’s entire 185-mile long towpath is restored, open to hikers and bikers and is accessible from many points in Frederick County. – Delegate Ken Kerr 

Appalachian Trail – Almost 40 miles of the AT, as it is affectionately known, cross Maryland, most of which follow the ridgeline of South Mountain.– Delegate Ken Kerr 

Gambrill State Park is a beautiful mountain park, located on the ridge of the Catoctin Mountains in Frederick County. Its most popular feature is the 16 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. “I wasn’t fortunate to have been born in Frederick, but I was smart enough to make it my home.” – Delegate Ken Kerr

Carroll Creek Park is a linear park through beautiful downtown Frederick. Spanning more than a mile, this creek walk offers more than just a beautiful view; specialty shops, outdoor dining, breweries and a distillery are among the businesses located along the park – Delegate Ken Kerr

Image result for carroll creek park

Carroll Creek Park

Civil war battlefields. Frederick County was at the crossroads of America’s Civil War. Located on the Mason-Dixon Line, Frederick County was the site of the Battle of South Mountain (1862) and the Battle of Monocacy (1864). Its towns were alternately occupied by troops from both sides in the days before the nearby battles of Antietam (1862) and Gettysburg (1863). – Delegate Ken Kerr 

Catoctin Mountain Park, where Camp David is, lies within the mountainous area known as the Blue Ridge Province. This 5,810-acre hardwood forest park offers its refreshing streams and scenic vistas. – Delegate Ken Kerr 

 

Harford County

Swan Harbor Farm Park in Harford County for a great place to hike, bird watch and see where the Susquehanna meets the Bay – Susanne Zilberfarb, MAEF 

 

Howard County

Wincopin Trails – “My district is filled with trails along the Middle and Little Patuxent Rivers and even a really beautiful spot where the two come together.” – Delegate Jen Terrasa. (Delegate Harrison Fletcher confirms there is great fishing there! “Everyone knows how much I love fishing… I keep a couple fishing rods and tackle box in my trunk” – Delegate Andrea Harrison Fletcher

Patapsco Valley State Park extends along 32 miles of the Patapsco River, encompassing 16,043 acres and
eight developed recreational areas. Recreational opportunities include hiking, fishing, camping, canoeing, horseback and mountain bike trails – Delegate Jessica Feldmark

 

Montgomery County

Blackhill Regional Park – 2,000 acres with a lake for canoeing and paddle-boarding, dog park, trails, fishing  – Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo

Patuxent River State Park

Patuxent River State Park in Brookeville, Maryland offers 6,700 acres of natural areas and farmlands. Recreational use is primarily hunting, fishing, hiking and horseback riding. The park includes a catch and release trout stream, designated hunting areas and unmarked hiking and equestrian trails – Delegate Pamela Queen 

Rock Creek Park and trails –This 1,754-acre city park was officially authorized in 1890, making it the third national park to be designated by the federal government. It offers visitors the opportunity to escape the bustle of the city and find a peaceful refuge, recreation, fresh air, majestic trees, wild animals, and thousands of years of human history – Delegate Pamela Queen, Delegate Jared Solomon, Delegate Jim Gilchrist 

Lake Needwood – Trails follow the shoreline of Lake Needwood in Rock Creek Regional Park and meander through adjoining forest. The Lake Needwood area offers canoeing, paddle-boarding, and fishing Patuxent River State Park 8 – Delegate Bonnie Cullison, Delegate Jim Gilchrist 

Underground Railroad Experience Trail. The trail was created to provide more pedestrian trails in the

Oakley Cabin Trail

community, preserve the rural landscape and commemorate a part of the county’s history. Come during Heritage Days in June or Emancipation Day in November. – Delegate Pamela Queen  

Oakley Cabin African-American Museum and Park. An African American roadside community lived and worked on this historic site from emancipation well into the 20th century. Their culture and traditions heavily influenced those of surrounding communities, and their story is deeply woven into Montgomery County’s rich history. At the center of this site is Oakley Cabin, which was inhabited until 1976 and now serves as a living history museum. – Delegate Pamela Queen

Seneca Creek State Park is composed of 6,300 acres. The Clopper Day-Use Area contains many scenic areas, including the 90-acre Clopper Lake, surrounded by forests and fields. Picnicking, boat rentals, trails and a tire playground are just some of its recreational opportunities. Over 50 miles of trails are open for hiking, horseback riding and bicycling which wind through a variety of habitat. – Delegate James Gilchrist 

North Bethesda/Bethesda Trolley Trail- The Bethesda Trolley Trail is a great urban hike that mixes paved trails, major highway crossings via pedestrian bridges and a bit of street hiking to link them all together. The cool thing about this hike is that you go right through the heart of Bethesda. – Delegate James Gilchrist 

C&O Canal – Great Falls, Potomac MD

C&O Canal National Historic Park– The 184.5-mile-long recreational, educational and historic attraction welcomes over 5 million visitors each year. It is a major economic driver for the four Maryland counties – including Montgomery County – and the ten Canal Towns it passes through, responsible for approximately $98.4 million in visitor spending in 2019. – Delegate James Gilchrist

Audubon Naturalist Society Woodend Sanctuary is a peaceful 40-acre oasis offering wildflower meadows, meandering woodland trails, native plant gardens, and aquatic life. It’s a great place for kids and family, and they are working on a new ADA-accessible Oakley Cabin Trail, Potomac MD 9 trail and a veteran’s program to use it, partly funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust. – Delegate Jared Solomon 

Matthew Henson Trail

Sligo Creek Trail – This roughly 10.2-hard surface trail is one of the oldest in the County. Several paved and a few unpaved trails are scattered throughout the park and connect other park facilities, schools, and neighborhoods to the main trail. It’s a great place to train for running. – Delegate Lorig Charkoudian 

Matthew Henson Trail – The 4.2 mile, 8-foot-wide hard surface trail features 0.6 miles of wooden boardwalk. The trail is surrounded by parkland, forested area, thousands of trees and shrubs, and the Turkey Branch Stream. – Delegate Bonnie Cullison 

 

Queen Anne’s County

Cross Island Trail

Kent Island Cross Island Trail. The 6+-mile trail, wandering through farmland, meadows, wetlands, and woods, spans from Terrapin Park to the Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor Center at Kent Narrows and now beyond. The trail crosses several creeks with wooden bridges, offering a spectacular view of waterfowl and wetlands. – Senator Adelaide Eckhardt, Delegate Steven Arentz, Commissioner Chris Corchiarino

Terrapin Park. This 276-acre nature park features a 3.25-mile oyster chaff walking trail, which meanders through wildflower meadows, wetlands, tidal ponds, woodlands and sandy beaches. The trail provides a unique vantage point for viewing an incredible variety of waterfowl, wildlife and plant species. A gazebo and wheelchair-accessible boardwalk located along the beach afford a spectacular view of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. – Commissioner Chris Corchiarino 

Prince George’s County

Riverdale Park Trail – Prince George’s County has 165 miles of trail in its park system, including paved trails for walking, biking, running, skating; natural surface trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding; and water trails for canoeing and kayaking. Senator Pinsky likes to start at Riverdale Park and bike down to the waterfront or bike up to Lake Artemesia Natural Area in College Park. – Senator Paul Pinsky 

Laurel, Maryland – Laurel is a wonderful place to walk, offering a walking tour of historic Laurel through the City’s website. You can walk to three different counties from there! – Delegate Mary Lehman

 

Worcester County

Assateague Island is a barrier island bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Sinepuxent Bay on the west, with land owned by both the federal and state government. Its miles of ocean beaches offer swimming, beachcombing, sunbathing, surfing and fishing. The bayside offers visitors the chance to explore secluded coves by canoe or kayak. The marsh areas have a variety of wildlife, including deer, waterfowl and of course the wild horses. – Delegate Wayne Hartman

Assateague Island Marshes

Chesapeake Bay Trust Announces Awardees – Fiscal Year 2021

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The Chesapeake Bay Trust (Trust) has awarded over $130 million through more than 14,000 awards to ensure cleaner, greener, healthier Chesapeake, Coastal Bays, and Youghiogheny watersheds since 1985. The Trust has a rigorous grant review process: every proposal submitted over $5,000 is sent to members of a Technical Review Committee (TRC) and is reviewed and scored quantitatively by at least three external individuals who are experts in their fields. The Board of Trustees meets 4 times per year to review and approve all TRC recommended proposals. Proposals for $5,000 or less are reviewed by two or more technical experts on the Chesapeake Bay Trust program team.

September 2020

Anne Arundel County Forestry and Forested Land Protection

The goal of this program is to implement cost-effective reforestation and greening projects and increase the number of acres of protected forested land in the County. For information about this grant program click here.

Scenic Rivers Land Trust: for the protection of 27 acres of existing forest with a permanent conservation easement and the reforestation and protection of 1.5 acres on Bodkin Creek property in Pasadena, Maryland. $175,296.

Community Engagement and Restoration Mini Grants

This program is designed to engage Maryland residents in activities that enhance communities, engage residents, and improve natural resources by funding small-scale activities such as tree plantings, rain gardens, and community cleanups, among others. For information about this grant program click here.

Blue Water Baltimore: for the creation of a short video regarding green infrastructure and how residents can participate in reducing stormwater runoff in their communities. $5,000.

Christian Liberty Church: for a community clean-up event and installation of a mural connecting faith, clean water, and environmental stewardship. $5,000.

Gwynn Oak United Methodist Church: for the installation of a native plant garden, a native tree, and three rain barrels and a workshop regarding the importance of native plants and water harvesting for capturing and treating stormwater. $5,000.

Project Bright Future: for a series of workshops about community health and ways to reduce stormwater runoff and four community clean-up events. $4,985.

Saint Elizabeth School, Inc.: for the installation of two cisterns and pumps to control runoff from horticultural building and hands-on learning experiences. $3,807.

Saint Matthias Catholic Church: for a series of lectures on the importance of trees and their connection to watershed health and for a park clean-up and field trip to Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary with congregation members. $5,000.

Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church: for a native plant and shrub planting, community garden installation, and educational activities on the topics of natural resource and water quality challenges. $4,977.

Stillmeadow Community Fellowship: for the installation of four 150-gallon cisterns to capture stormwater runoff from the church roof and for educational workshops regarding stormwater impacts to local waterways and how communities can install and maintain individual, residential rain barrels. $4,999.

Tilghman on Chesapeake Community Association: for the installation of 21 native trees on a 2-acre non-tidal wetland site and educational activities regarding watershed health and water quality topics. $3,969.

Environmental Education Mini Grants

This program is designed to increase student awareness and involvement in the restoration and protection of our region’s natural resources by increasing access to programs that provide Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs). For information about this grant program click here.

Alice Ferguson Foundation: for 25 third through eighth grade teachers in Prince George’s, Charles, and Allegany Counties to participate in a professional development training focused on Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences. $5,000.

Bethesda Green: for 12 eleventh and twelfth grade students from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Walt Whitman High School and Walter Johnson High School to participate in an Environmental Leadership Program. $5,000.

Dance Exchange: for 15 kindergarten through fifth grade teachers to participate in a professional development training focused on MWEEs and arts integration. $5,000.

Eastport Elementary PTA: for the installation of an outdoor classroom at Eastport Elementary School. $4,938.

Fenix Youth Project: for 25 students in Salisbury, Maryland to participate in an outdoor investigation and install a mural. $4,998.

Graceland Park O’Donnell Heights Elementary/ Middle School: for 240 fourth through eighth grade students to participate in a field experience and complete an action project in their community. $4,570.

Grasonville Elementary School: for 88 fourth grade students to research, design, and plant a rain garden on the school grounds. $4,462.

Howard County Conservancy, Inc.: for 9th graders from Howard County Public Schools to participate in the Watershed Report Card MWEE. $4,989.

Immaculate Conception School: for 108 fourth and fifth grade students to investigate local issues that impact the Jones Falls watershed and its tributaries through classroom research and field trips to local tributaries and to participate in an action project which reduces pollution entering the local watershed.  $5,000.

Lesley and Evelyn Holmes Foundation: for 5 students in nineth through twelfth grade to participate in a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience. $1,162.

Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE): for 60 teachers to participate in a professional development training focused on outdoor classroom use. $5,000.

One Montgomery Green: for 40 high school students to participate in the Clean Headwaters Program. $5,000.

Ridge Elementary School: for 112 third through fifth grade students to participate in the installation of an outdoor classroom. $5,000.

Talbot County Public Schools: for 354 sixth grade students to participate in an investigation focused on water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and to complete a planting at Pickering Creek. $5,000.

November 2020

Community Engagement and Restoration Mini Grants

This program is designed to engage Maryland residents in activities that enhance communities, engage residents, and improve natural resources by funding small-scale activities such as tree plantings, rain gardens, and community cleanups, among others. For information about this grant program click here.

Havre de Grace Green Team: for the expansion of the Todd Park Food Forest and for a workshop to build knowledge on environmentally sustainable food-growing practices. $4,967.

Quail Meadow community Association, Inc.: for the installation of native plantings along the edge of the Quail Meadow community pond in Carroll County, Maryland. $4,971.

Tanglewood Homeowners Association: for the replacement of four Bradford Pear trees with 12 native trees in the Tanglewood community of Columbia and the engagement of the community in the planting and knowledge building on the ecological importance of native plants. $4,682.

4STEPS Therapeutic Riding Program: for ten special needs, at-risk teenagers and young adults to participate in a horseback reptile surveying project that includes watershed and ecological health education. $5,000.

EPA Goal Implementation Team - Environmental Education

This funding opportunity arose out of the urgent need to provide financial assistance to nonprofit environmental education providers throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed during the COVID-19 pandemic, as their operations pivoted from place-based environmental education to virtual platforms and physically distanced schoolyard programs. For information about this program click here.

Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park: to support the adaptations and implementation of the Box of Rain and School In Nature programs. $20,000.

Blue Sky Fund: to support the adaptations and implementation of the Explorers program for third, fourth, and fifth grade students at Richmond Public Schools. $20,000.

Boxerwood Education Association: to support the NEST program for students in Rockbridge County, VA. $19,990.

ECO City Farms: to support transitioning educational offerings to virtual and into at-home kits for 3,000 Prince George’s County students. $20,000.

Friends of Peirce Mill: for support of an online program for third graders in the District of Columbia including live lessons and a virtual field trip. $7,200.

Friends of the National Arboretum: to support distribution of Grow-at-Home kits for 2,000 students and 6 safely distanced Arboretum Family Days in the U.S. National Arboretum for high-needs school communities. $19,985.

Living Classrooms Foundation: to support the adaptations and implementation of a virtual SLURRP (School Leadership in Urban Runoff Reduction Project) program for fourth and fifth grade students in South Baltimore. $19,998.

Stroud Water Research Center: to support the adaptation and implementation of virtual Environmental Education programs, and the creation of a Pennsylvania Watershed Literacy and Resources website. $14,442.

Ward Foundation: to enable the Ward Museum to continue serving regional children and teachers via new socially distanced, virtual, and hybrid programs. $17,785.

Outreach and Restoration

This program encourages outreach and community engagement activities that increase stewardship ethic of natural resources and on-the-ground restoration activities that demonstrate restoration techniques and engage Maryland citizens in the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers. For information about this grant program click here.

Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay: for an 11-acre reforestation project in Harford County, Maryland. $49,958.

Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay: for the conversion of agricultural land into meadow at Serenity Farm and associated outreach efforts for the development and planning of future meadow projects in Charles County. $41,777.

Anacostia Riverkeeper: for outreach to Latinx faith-based organizations to raise awareness on the health risks of local fish consumption and other relationships between environmental and human health. $25,963.

Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park: for the creation and installation of educational signage for Chesapeake Bay watershed learning stations at Annapolis Maritime Museum’s two waterfront campuses and for an eight-part series of adult programs that connect adults with the history, health, and future of the watershed. $29,209.

Asbury Foundation: for the engagement of Asbury Methodist Village residents in tree plantings and workshops designed to increase understanding of watershed health. $30,000.

Audubon Naturalist Society of the Central Atlantic States, Inc.: for support of the Plant it Forward program to train community members and landscape professionals about conservation landscaping and benefits of native plants in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. $30,000.

Audubon Naturalist Society of the Central Atlantic States, Inc.: for 80 Montgomery county community members to participate in a bilingual Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience. $20,836.

Audubon Naturalist Society of the Central Atlantic States, Inc.: for experiences in nature for veterans through community environmental education programs along a wheelchair-accessible, streamside nature trail at 40-acre Woodend Nature Sanctuary. $10,126.

Baltimore City Department of Planning: for planting 32 trees in the Boyd-Booth community in Baltimore City, Maryland. $21,472.

Baltimore Green Space: for invasive species removal at Springfield Woods. $49,420.

Blue Water Baltimore: for planting 150 trees and associated outreach efforts in the Cherry Hill neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland. $49,999.

Blue Water Baltimore: for a pilot campaign to educate Belair-Edison and Cherry Hill residents on the causes of sewage backups, the impacts to water quality, and the resources that exist to address the issue. $30,000.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation: for wetland restoration in Kent County, Maryland. $46,068.

Civic Works, Inc.: for a certification-based stormwater management training for 12 Baltimore City residents from historically excluded communities. $30,000.

The Community Ecology Institute: for the installation of best management practices and associated outreach efforts at Freetown Farm. $75,000.

Corner Team, Inc.: for the installation and maintenance of a pollinator garden with assistance from residents and members of Corner Team Boxing & Fitness Center. $5,757.

Defensores de la Cuenca: for outreach and engagement efforts to promote environmental stewardship within the Latinx community in Charles County. $21,391.

Ducks Unlimited, Inc.: for targeted outreach and education of agricultural landowners and producers on Maryland’s eastern shore. $29,691.

Friends of the Patapsco Valley Heritage Greenway, Inc.: for outreach and engagement efforts to promote environmental stewardship within the Latinx and Korean communities in Ellicott City, Maryland. $25,000.

Friends of the Patapsco Valley State Park Ltd: for support for Spanish speaking staff to lead Spanish educational programming for Latinx visitors focused on watershed and natural resource topics. $16,000.

Gunpowder Riverkeeper: for support for the Clear Choices Clean Water Harford program. $15,000.

Howard County Conservancy, Inc.: for the planting of a soft edge habitat with native trees and shrubs to support greater wildlife diversity and further protect the watershed along the border of the Howard County Conservancy and the historic Mt. Pleasant Farmstead in Woodstock, Maryland. $25,130.

Howard EcoWorks: for the engagement of individual property owners and communities in restoration projects to enhance ecosystem services and strengthen the resiliency of the communities. $22,000.

Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake (IPC): for the training of individuals to develop green teams and produce an Action Plan for faith-based organizations located in Baltimore City, Maryland. $13,124.

Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake (IPC): for the development of green teams at faith-based organizations in Gaithersburg, Maryland. $12,973.

Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake (IPC): for the continued support of the Interfaith Green Leaders Training in Howard County. $12,000.

Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake (IPC): for continued Green Team Leader support of Harford County faith-based communities. $11,673.

Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake (IPC): for support of the Green Team Leadership Development Program to educate residents about watershed restoration and train congregation members with the goal of developing green teams in the City of Salisbury. $6,892.

Izaak Walton League of America (The): for support of the Winter Salt Watch program in Gaithersburg, Maryland. $30,923.

McDaniel College: for a forest and wetland restoration and the installation of a student-focused educational signage project at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. $35,000.

Mid-shore Community Foundation: for members of three disenfranchised communities in the Choptank watershed to participate in community meetings and site visits to identify natural resource concerns and develop community restoration plans to address issues. $16,126.

The Nature Conservancy: for field days and coaching sessions with Harford County farmers to identify and implement practices to improve their operations with advanced nutrient management and precision agriculture technologies. $29,953.

NeighborSpace of Baltimore County, Inc.: for impervious surface removal, native plantings, and rain garden installation at Flannery Lane Park in Towson, Maryland. $35,000.

Oyster Recovery Partnership, Inc.: for the Marylanders Grow Oysters program through the Oyster Recovery Partnership and its community-based partners to recruit waterfront communities and homeowners near Maryland tributaries to donate their time, effort, and dock to care for cages of juvenile oysters until they mature. $49,999.

Patterson Park Audubon Center: for the growth of the Baltimore Bird Ambassador project to reach 400 Latinx community members. $29,700.

Pearlstone Conference & Retreat Center: for a bioretention and water stewardship outreach project at the Pearlstone Conference & Retreat Center in Reisterstown, Maryland. $30,602.

Pickering Creek Audubon Center: for a residential native plant outreach and awareness project in Talbot and Dorchester Counties. $29,726.

Potomac Conservancy: for support of the Volunteer Leadership Team to recruit and train volunteer leaders to organize and lead native seed collection events in neighborhoods and public lands in Montgomery and Frederick Counties. $29,262.

ReBUILD Metro, Inc.: for the creation of the East Preston Pocket Park and to train 30 local green team leaders and volunteers in greenspace stewardship and maintenance techniques $36,775.

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church: for the removal of impervious surface and replacement with permeable pavement, installation of native plantings, and associated outreach efforts at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. $64,358.

ShoreRivers: for establishing a partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Anne Arundel Community College, and Washington College to restore 24 acres of submerged aquatic vegetation and to provide new hands-on volunteer opportunities to improve water quality and clarity, increase of aquatic habitat, and to help meet the Chesapeake Bay Agreement habitat restoration goal. $63,446.

ShoreRivers: for the engagement of two Eastern Shore communities in the implementation of conservation planting projects, two River-Friendly Yards workshops, and one bus tour. $31,859.

Susquehannock Wildlife Society, Inc.: for an outreach program and the development and installation of interpretive signage focused on demonstration projects and how residents can create similar elements such as pollinator meadows, rain gardens, vernal pool, and stream restoration. $5,000.

University of Maryland, College Park: for the collection and testing of harvested rainwater and an educational program for urban growers and residents focused on water quality and water conservation topics. $29,985.

University of Maryland: Environmental Finance Center: for support of the Stormwater Management Residential Action Framework and Outreach 2.0 Campaign. $29,999.

Sponsorship

This program aims to support events that will increase awareness or knowledge on issues pertaining to restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay region natural resources and/or promote the Trust’s major sources of revenue. For information about this program click here.

Audubon Naturalist Society of the Central Atlantic States, Inc.: for support of the third Naturally Latinos and fourth Taking Nature Black virtual conferences. $2,500.

Harford Land Trust, Inc.: for an awareness campaign to increase support for farmland preservation and to strengthen the local food supply chain in Harford County. This effort will also create a video featuring farmers and the importance of protecting the environment. $1,000.

Maryland Association of Floodplain and Stormwater Managers: for support of the 2020 Maryland Association of Floodplain and Stormwater Managers virtual conference. $1,000.

Watershed Assistance

This program supports watershed restoration project design assistance, watershed planning, and programmatic development associated with protection and restoration programs and projects that lead to improved water quality in the Maryland region. For information about this grant program click here.

Arundel Rivers Federation: for design of a stream restoration project at the Preserve at Broad Creek. $32,824.

Arundel Rivers Federation: for design of stormwater management practices at St. Mark United Methodist Church. $16,521.

Center for Watershed Protection, Inc.: for design of the FC Frederick stream restoration project. $173,926.

Central Baltimore Partnership: for design of the Union Craft wetland project. $48,127.

Chesapeake Rivers Association, Inc.: for design of the Lindamoor outfall and living shoreline restoration project. $74,837.

Churchville Presbyterian Congregation: for the design of two stormwater management practices. $13,400.

County Commissioners of Caroline County: for design of rain gardens and conservation plantings at the Jonestown Community Park. $2,850.

John Carroll School: for development of a campus greening plan and design of stormwater management practices. $92,840.

The Low Impact Development Center, Inc.: for development of a stormwater master plan for the Town of Cheverly, Maryland. $50,000.

Maryland Coastal Bays Program: for development of a watershed action plan for the Newport, Sinepuxent, and Chincoteague Bays sub-watersheds. $73,070.

ShoreRivers: for the design and permitting of the Turners Creek stream restoration project. $110,000.

ShoreRivers: for design and permitting of the Sears Farm stream restoration project. $81,896.

ShoreRivers: for development of the Poor House Run assessment and plan. $52,956.

ShoreRivers: for the development of dairy conservation action plans for five Maryland Eastern Shore dairy operations. $52,238.

ShoreRivers: for development of the Bayside Creeks watershed management plan. $49,903.

ShoreRivers: for design of bioswale facilities at the Community Park in Galena. $17,996.

Town of Emmitsburg: for design and permitting of the Silo Hill detention basin restoration project. $34,000.

Towson Presbyterian Church: for design of two rain gardens and a cistern system at the Church. $35,509.

Trout Unlimited Inc.: for design of the Sand Spring Run stream restoration project. $114,411.

University of Maryland College Park: for design of the Campus Creek restoration and Pond Retrofit projects. $180,000.

Project Highlight: ‘Scoop that Poop’ Pet Waste Education Campaign

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In 2017, the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center (EFC) received an award through the Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program to conduct phase II of the Pet Waste Education Campaign. This campaign is an effort to support the broader Pet Waste Management (PWM) Initiative, known as “Scoop That Poop,” launched in 2016 by Prince George’s County Department of the Environment (DoE). To date, over 200 pet waste stations have been installed across more than 40 municipalities and homeowners associations (HOAs) through the PWM Initiative. The Pet Waste Education Campaign carried out by EFC’s Sustainable Maryland team was designed to offer outreach, education, and infrastructure support to increase awareness about the issue of pet waste pollution and to encourage residents to pick up their pet’s waste. The campaign was defined by four major strategies: 1) convening outreach activities focusing on pet waste and stormwater pollution, 2) developing and promoting bilingual outreach education material, 3) deployment of an asset management tool, and 4) identifying locations for and installing pet waste stations.

By the Numbers
1
Pet Waste Video
1
Pet Waste Management Summit
5
Homeowners Associations
7
Municipalities
86
Pet Waste Stations Installed

Pet waste station installed at Tunic Park in Capitol Heights, Maryland.

EFC worked with seven municipalities for this phase of the campaign: Colmar Manor, Hyattsville, Fairmount Heights, Berwyn Heights, Seat Pleasant, Forest Heights, and Capitol Heights. Each municipality received support in identifying pet waste and stormwater management goals, had customized outreach and education plans delivered to them, and received up to 10 pet waste stations each – for a total of 70 pet waste stations! EFC assisted in identifying ideal locations for each station, then the municipalities took the installation of each station into their own hands. Following the installation of the pet waste stations, EFC distributed 100 copies of “Scoop That Poop” brochures and four “Scoop That Poop” car magnets to each of the seven municipalities, which were placed on DPW and code enforcement vehicles. During this project, the municipalities also received support through train-the-trainer sessions, where EFC staff convened and trained key staff, elected officials, and local Green Team members on best practices for talking to residents about pet waste management and stormwater pollution. EFC also worked with five HOAs during phase II: Village Green Mutual Homes Cooperative, East Pines Neighborhood association, Fox Chase I Civic Association, Riverdale RRC Community Association, and Avondale North Woodridge Citizen’s Association. These HOAs received assistance in identifying suitable pet waste station locations. A total of 16 stations were installed amongst the five HOAs.

Locally targeted outreach efforts were complimented with a county-wide Pet Waste Management Summit focused on pet waste and stormwater runoff pollution. Close to 50 attendees participated in this summit, which also provided a platform for phase I municipalities to share experiences and the value of pet waste education, stations, and ongoing monitoring efforts. EFC supported monitoring efforts throughout this project by working with the DoE to build out and enter pet waste station data into a monitoring application. During phase II, EFC was able to collect monitoring data from 13 stations installed in phase I.

Phase II culminated in the creation of an educational pet waste video. This minute-long video explains the harmful impact that pet waste can have on human health when left on the ground. Pet waste that is improperly disposed of can be carried away into local streams and rivers, where it decays and releases excessive nutrients that contribute to decreased oxygen levels. Pet waste bacteria can spread human diseases, making local waters unsafe to swim and fish.

Fortunately, proper disposal of pet waste is easy – especially when the right tools, such as pet waste stations, have been made readily available. Prince George’s County wants you to “Scoop That Poop” for more beautiful, healthier communities and cleaner waterways!

Pollution Prevention and Water Quality go Hand in Hand

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This past week commemorated the 30th celebration of Pollution Prevention Week, a week focused on educating and mobilizing government agencies, industries, and individuals to play their part in reducing and preventing pollution. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines pollution prevention as “reducing or eliminating waste at the source.” By targeting pollution at its source, less energy and resources are spent in the management and disposal of pollution. Though most of the burden of this source reduction falls on industries and government agencies, individuals can take meaningful steps to reduce pollution at home.

One step we can take is to reduce the amount of trash we are generating. On average, a single person generated 4.51 pounds of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), otherwise known as trash, per day in 2017 which amounts to about 1,700 pounds of trash generated in a single year. The total amount of trash generated in the United States in 2017 was 267.8 million tons, a number that rises each year. Plastic products represented 13.2% of the 267.8 million tons of trash generated, the second highest category of trash produced after paper and paperboard (25%).

Plastic waste poses a serious environmental threat for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed region, as some of this plastic makes its way into our local waterways and eventually into the Bay. Wildlife can be entangled by or ingest plastic, which can ultimately lead to starvation and death. Beyond presenting a direct physical danger to wildlife, plastic products contain or carry several different chemical components, some of which are toxic and slow to degrade. The physical and chemical impacts of plastic pollution lead to weakened ecosystems and waters that are not safe to swim or fish in. However, there are several small but significant steps we can take to protect the health of our communities and increase the quality of local streams and rivers.

One way we can help cut down on plastic pollution is to reduce our use of plastic. Below are a few of the ways we can cut down on our use of plastic products.

  • Bring your own cloth bags to the [store]
  • Go to the farmer’s market and purchase fresh fruits and veggies (not packaged in plastic)
  • Clean with baking soda and vinegar instead of cleaners packaged in plastic
  • Store all your food in glass containers. If you purchase something bottled in glass, clean it and reuse it!
  • Compost your trash, reduce your use of plastic trash bags

The ideas above are just a few small steps you can take to generate less plastic waste. The full list of tips and ideas from Reef Relief can be found here.

Chesapeake Conservation Corps Profile: Sam Myers & The Nature Conservancy

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Sam coring a white pine as part of her Capstone project to study the impact of historical fires on forest structure at TNC’s Sideling Hill Creek preserve in western Maryland. (Photo: Deborah Landau/TNC)

Participating in the Chesapeake Conservation Corps (Corps) is a unique experience. We are showcasing the individual Conservation Corps members in the 2019-2020 cohort along with information on their host site and descriptions of the incredible work they are doing. This month’s featured Corps member: Sam Myers.

Growing up in Maryland, Sam’s love for the environment was ignited by her experiences in the marshes of the Chesapeake Bay. Sam will always remember her middle school field trip where her class spent time out on the water setting out crab pots, netting fish close to the shore, and mucking in the nearby marsh. She states, “this hands-on learning is what drew me to environmental science and sparked my love for ecology and environmental conservation.” During her time at Washington University in St. Louis, she pursued a degree in environmental studies and worked in their research labs studying plant population ecology and plant pathology. In college, Sam was able to visit the Mojave Desert in California, and Hawaii to study the unique ecology and geology on federally managed lands. Sam also studied abroad in Panama learning about tropical ecology and indigenous resource conservation. Her time traveling helped her realize that there is so much more to learn about the natural world and how different communities work to manage and preserve it.

Chesapeake Conservation Corps members learned how to core trees and helped collect data for Sam’s capstone project at TNC’s Sideling Hill Creek preserve as part of a site visit that she hosted in February.

Upon beginning her time in the Corps, Sam initially wanted to learn about and contribute to environmental conservation projects and spend time working out in the field. She feels lucky to have been placed with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in their Maryland/District of Columbia office where she learned about restoration, land management, and conservation science.

Spanning 79 countries and territories alongside all 50 states, TNC is a science-based organization whose mission is to “conserve the lands and waters on which all life depend” by working with partners to advance conservation locally, regionally, and globally. Sam supports their mission as part of the Land Management team by assisting with controlled burns, monitoring rare plant species, and removing invasive species on their preserves. Sam has been able to work on multiple research projects of her own, including an ecosystem services analysis of TNC’s preserves in Maryland and a Capstone project, which is part of each Corps member’s work plan for the year, and is a graduation requirement.

One of her favorite things to experience (before COVID-19 restrictions were put in place in Maryland) was exploring the different landscapes across the state encapsulated in TNC’s preserves—from the Delmarva bay wetlands on the Eastern Shore to the Central Appalachian forests and montane bogs in western Maryland. Even though she grew up in Maryland, Sam admits, she had no idea of the vastly diverse ecological communities feeding into the treasured Chesapeake Bay.

Assisting with a controlled burn at Plum Creek Cedar Swamp on the Eastern Shore in January 2020. The burn helped to prepare two grass fields for a longleaf pine planting in February. (Photo: Chase McLean/TNC)

For her Capstone project, Sam studied the impact of historical fires on forest structure at TNC’S Sideling Hill Creek preserve in western Maryland. Sideling Hill Creek preserve is an 800-acre oak-pine forest with areas of shale barrens that harbor the unique biodiversity of plants and animals. TNC has been conducting controlled burns since 1962 and uses fire as a management tool to sustain fire-dependent ecosystems and prevent catastrophic wildfires. In Maryland, TNC has been conducting controlled burns on the Eastern Shore since 2008 and has started to develop a burn program in western Maryland (central Appalachians). Though fire was once common and widespread throughout this region, fire exclusion during the past century has threatened the dynamics of this forest. Sam’s capstone project examines how the fire history at Sideling Hill Creek may have shaped today’s forest dynamics. It will serve as a baseline to inform TNC’s management of the preserve and can also inform management of forests regionally across the central Appalachians.

At TNC, Sam has been able to dip her toes into different conservation projects and learn about the interdisciplinary functioning of a global non-profit conservation organization. Sam states that through this opportunity she has gotten to know some wonderful people who have enriched her Corps experience, including her mentor, Deborah Landau. Among other professional development opportunities, the Chesapeake Conservation Corps program also provided a variety of opportunities to learn about other environmental organizations and work alongside other Corps members. Sam will be attending the University of Massachusetts – Amherst to further her learning in their Master of Science program for Environmental Conservation, where she will take a sustained connection to the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the people she has met through the Corps. Sam hopes to continue developing interdisciplinary skills to bridge the gap between conservation practitioners and scientists.

Gearing up for a controlled burn at Sideling Hill Creek preserve in western Maryland in November 2019. (Photo: Sev Smith/TNC).

The 2019-2020 class of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps graduated on August 13th, 2020 at a virtual ceremony, where Tamara Toles O’Laughlin the North American Director of 350.org gave an inspiring speech. The graduating class has members who are attending graduate school at the George Washington University, the University of North Carolina – Wilmington, and Yale University; working in other “corps” positions like AmeriCorps or TerraCorps; and working at organizations like the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Horizons Outdoor Learning Center, and ShoreRivers; to name a few.

The 2020-2021 class of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps had orientation on August 18th, 2020 at a virtual ceremony. To find out more about the new members and their host sites please see their member placements, here. The Chesapeake Bay Trust is also excited to announce the first Corps Alumni web page is now available here, showcasing 10 years of the program.

The Chesapeake Bay Trust thanks the 2020 – 2021 Corps program supporters, BGE an Exelon Company, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the National Parks Service Chesapeake Bay Office, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, American Chestnut Land Trust, Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks – Carrie Murray Nature Center, and Maryland Department of the Environment.

Engaging Diverse Groups in Environmental Stewardship is Essential

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In 2015, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, working through their Chispa Maryland (Chispa) program, received an award through the Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program to engage members of Prince George’s County Latino community in educational experiences designed to improve local water quality and the health of the community. Through this project, Chispa Maryland also sought to establish strong, longstanding leadership within the community to carry the efforts of this project forward.

Chispa Maryland was launched by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund in 2014. This group works with Latino families, community groups, faith-based organizations, and elected officials to identify and address environmental issues. Chispa seeks to empower the Latino community to take action to protect natural resources and build healthy neighborhoods.

This project focused on working with Latino community members predominantly from the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative (TNI) designated area of Langley Park. The TNI is a county effort that aims at uplifting neighborhoods with significant needs. Chispa began by consulting with several Latino community leaders, Prince George’s County agencies, and other Latino-serving organizations to develop a curriculum and delivery plan that best served the needs of the community. The resulting curriculum comprised of both in-class and hands-on learning experiences. The in-class learning consisted of an introduction to the water cycle, the impact of stormwater runoff on the environment, and the actions that can be taken to manage stormwater runoff. The classroom session stressed the interconnectedness of individual actions and the cumulative impact these actions have on natural resources. Chispa also illuminated the relation between local water quality and the health and quality of life of the community.

The outdoor active learning sessions were designed to allow participants to experience firsthand and put into practice some of the concepts covered during the in-class session. A partnership with Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) brought Latino families and individuals out onto the Anacostia River through boat trips. AWS lead conversations on the biodiversity and water quality of the Anacostia River, as well as the impact of stormwater runoff on the Anacostia and surrounding streams and rivers. The boat trip sessions concluded with participants identifying the various ways their actions impacted natural resources, to change behaviors with negative impacts. Participants also had the chance to implement low impact development projects at the Langley Park Community Center. Participants created a 1,000 sq. ft. native plants garden and installed six rain barrels throughout the community center.

After the completion of both the in-class and hands-on activities, Chispa conducted leadership training with a group of participants that demonstrated a commitment to improving their natural resources and build resilient communities. Six instructional sessions were held and a total of 13 participants completed the training and were graduated as promotores (trained individuals who take on an educational role). The training of promotores enhances the sustainability of this project, as these leaders are empowered to lead and coordinate projects in their communities that promote environmental education and increase community participation in environmental activities.

Congratulations to Chispa Maryland on a successful and engaging project!

Working with Faith-Based Organizations to Implement Stormwater Solutions

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In 2015, Anacostia Riverkeeper received an award through the Prince George’s Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program to carry out their High-Volume Community Cistern project. This project had four primary objectives, which were to: 1) demonstrate the effectiveness of high-capacity cisterns, 2) reduce stormwater runoff, 3) engage and form relationships with faith-based organizations, and 4) encourage members of faith-based organizations to participate in Prince George’s County Rain Check Rebate Program.

The objectives for this project aligned with the goals of the Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship program, which strives to improve neighborhoods, improve water quality in the County’s waterways, and engage County residents in stormwater issues. Since 2014, Prince George’s County Department of the Environment has partnered with the Chesapeake Bay Trust to fund impactful projects that strive to accomplish these goals. The Prince George’s County Rain Check Rebate Program is a second program funded by the County that incentivizes environmental stewardship by offering reimbursement to homeowners, businesses, and others for installing practices that will improve stormwater runoff quality, reduce runoff quantity, and improve local streams and rivers. This program operates on a rolling deadline and is currently accepting applications.

Anacostia Riverkeeper worked with First Baptist Church of Glenarden, St. Ambrose Catholic Church, and St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church. To connect with and engage members of each faith-based organization, Anacostia Riverkeeper conducted stormwater outreach events at each of the three locations where they planned to install a high-volume cistern. Five outreach events were conducted with the help of Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake. These outreach events were offered in English and Spanish, which increased accessibility and helped to draw in over 170 participants. The events covered stormwater runoff and offered potential solutions and actions that participants could take. Anacostia Riverkeeper also informed participants about the existing opportunity to apply to the Prince George’s Rain Check Rebate Program to install stormwater management practices at their own homes.

Educational signage placed at each cistern installation.

To directly address stormwater management needs, high-volume cisterns were installed on each of the faith-based organizations’ properties. Each cistern captures between 17,500 to 39,000 gallons of stormwater per year, which reduces the amount of stormwater runoff and pollution that flows into local streams and rivers, and allows the stormwater to be used for other purposes.

Congratulations to Anacostia Riverkeeper on a successful project that engaged community members and directly addressed stormwater management!

 

Introducing Our 22nd Treasure the Chesapeake Silent Auction!

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From Baltimore City to the Eastern Shore, our Treasure the Chesapeake’s silent auction offers chances to cherish treasures of the Bay throughout Maryland. We are thrilled to have so many local businesses supporting our event and our mission. There is something for everyone so be sure to attend the event on August 20th and bid to take home a Treasure of the Chesapeake for your very own!

Don’t see your favorite organization listed? Let us know and we’ll reach out to them! info@cbtrust.org

Welcoming the New Prince George’s Rain Check Rebate Program Team

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The Prince George’s County Rain Check Rebate Program is a partnership between Prince George’s County Department of the Environment and the Chesapeake Bay Trust (Trust). This program offers incentives to homeowners, businesses, and others to install practices that will reduce stormwater runoff, reduce pollution, and improve the water quality of local streams and rivers.

At the beginning of this year, the Trust welcomed Nguyen Le as the new Rain Check Rebate Coordinator! Below is Nguyen’s background and experience thus far.

Can you tell us about yourself?

Nguyen Le, Rain Check Rebate Coordinator

I was born and raised in Maryland and my family is from Vietnam. For my undergraduate studies, I  attended the University of Maryland, College Park and earned a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy with a minor in Sustainability Studies. After graduating, I served as a Chesapeake Conservation Corps member and worked at the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin conducting environmental and watershed education for students and teachers. I joined the Chesapeake Bay Trust in 2018 and now manage the Prince George’s County Rain Check Rebate Program and co-manage the Outreach and Restoration Grant Program. More recently, I graduated from Virginia Tech’s Executive Master of Natural Resources program where I earned a Master of Natural Resources and Graduate Certificate in Global Sustainability.

What are your professional/environmental goals and how does managing the Rain Check Rebate Program align with those goals?

A major goal regarding the work I currently do and want to continue to do revolves around water. Water is a precious resource and necessity for life. Globally, billions of people in the world lack safe water, sanitation, and handwashing facilities. Additionally, ever-growing demands for and inefficient use and management of freshwater resources have resulted in severe water stress and increased pollution of our waterways. Water quality is one of the major challenges we face today.

Initiatives and programs like the Prince George’s County Rain Check Rebate Program help address local and regional water quality issues. This program engages residents to take action for clean water. Participants in this program are helping to keep our rivers clean and reduce pollution for increased environmental and public health. Through this program, I can educate residents about water quality issues, what actions they can take, and how this program helps support clean water efforts in their community and the County as a whole.

What have you most enjoyed so far about your new role as the Rain Check Rebate Coordinator?

One of the most rewarding aspects of the Rain Check Rebate Program is being able to connect with the community and see residents take pride in their projects. It is wonderful to see residents excited about their project and express the impact that the project has had on their lives. Some appreciate the presence of new trees that will provide shade and privacy in their yards, some enjoy the butterflies that now frequent the native plants in their rain garden, and some are thankful that the standing and pooling water they experienced is a thing of the past.

What is your hope for the Rain Check Rebate Program moving forward?

My hope for this program is for all Prince George’s County residents to know that the Rain Check Rebate Program and other County resources are available for them to use and here to support them and their communities. I want every community member to know that they can make a difference in their communities and the environment.

What advice would you give to young people seeking careers in the environmental field?

Do not limit yourself and be open to learning and experiencing new things. The environmental field encompasses such a wide range of topics and there are so many different paths you can take. Be cognizant of your interests and the type of work you enjoy doing and find an organization or company whose mission and values align with yours.

Anything else you want to share?

Managing the Prince George’s County Rain Check Rebate Program has been a rewarding experience. I am proud to support and work with the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment on their program to help advance their goal of improving the quality of life for its communities by promoting green solutions to stormwater runoff.

Meet the Rain Check Rebate Intern:

The Trust recently also welcomed Emma Cwalinski (pictured left), the summer programmatic intern who will be working as part of the Rain Check Rebate team. Emma is currently majoring in Environmental Science and Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD), where she is entering into her junior year. Beyond her position as an intern for the Trust, Emma utilizes her passion for the environment as her sorority’s Sustainability Chair and as a Sustainable Transportation Assistant for UMD’s Department of Transportation. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career working directly with environmental policy. Emma is excited to learn more about the different programs the Trust offers during her time as an intern. Welcome to the team, Emma!

Thank you to both Nguyen and Emma for their hard work in managing and supporting the Rain Check Rebate Program! Prince George’s County residents are encouraged to learn more and apply to the program by visiting the program page here.