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Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship

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

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

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

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

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

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

In 2017

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

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

In 2018

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

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

In 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Learn about the ways you can help manage stormwater runoff while also beautifying your property by viewing the Chesapeake Stormwater Network’s Homeowner Guide for a More Bay-Friendly Property at http://chesapeakestormwater.net/wp-content/uploads/dlm_uploads/2013/04/Homeowner-Guide.pdf.

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

Learn more about the Rain Check Rebate Program

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!

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!

 

Parkdale Schools the Community on Stormwater Management

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Schools play a huge role not only in educating their students but also in acting as a center for resources and a vehicle for change and improvement in their communities. The Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Program is a partnership between the Chesapeake Bay Trust and Prince George’s County Department of the Environment that recognizes the potential these institutions, amongst others, have to engage the community and implement projects that improve the water quality of local streams and rivers.

Parkdale High School, located in Riverdale, received a grant in 2015 to carry out impactful learning opportunities and hands-on engagement in environmental stewardship and stormwater management. Parkdale worked with several partners on this project, including the Clean Water Partnership, Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) and the William S. Schmidt Outdoor Education Center. A professional development workshop was held for teachers and staff to equip them with knowledge on successfully implementing environmental literacy programs. The school was also able to host and mentor 13 student interns from the Prince George’s County Summer Youth Enrichment Program. The students were able to partake in a variety of educational activities, such as maintaining an edible food forest in front of the school’s campus and visiting several facilities working to protect our natural resources, including the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment, where they learned of the County’s actions to better manage and protect the environment. The students also visited Bladensburg Waterfront Park to participate in a boat tour led by the AWS, where the students learned about initiatives to clean the river and restore native wildlife populations and habitats.

Educational signage placed at the site of the installed stormwater management practice. Click to view larger!

Parkdale was also able to address the stormwater management needs of their campus. The school installed a series of permeable surfaces that allow water to infiltrate into the ground while filtering out pollutants. Excess water overflows from the permeable surfaces to three different types of infiltration areas installed next to the permeable surfaces, that help to further filter out pollutants and let the water slowly absorb into the ground. Educational signage was also installed at the project site to educate the Parkdale community on how the project functions to treat stormwater runoff.

 

Parkdale successfully installed a functional and educational stormwater management practice, while also engaging their community in stewardship. Congratulations to Parkdale High School on an exemplary project!

Celebrating an Environmental Champion: Walkiria Pool

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Walkiria Pool, President of the non-profit organization Centro de Apoyo Familiar (CAF) located in Riverdale, was recently named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women by The Daily Record! The Maryland’s Top 100 Women award recognizes high-achieving women who live or work in Maryland and are actively making a difference in their surrounding neighborhoods and networks. All winners are chosen by a panel of past Top 100 Women business leaders. Walkiria’s dedication to community service and her demonstration of strong leadership skills were no doubt a determining factor in her earning this high recognition!

Walkiria founded CAF in 2006, with the vision of transforming underserved communities through direct involvement and strong partnerships with faith-based organizations. CAF connects communities to a broad range of services, from affordable housing to environmental health. As President of CAF, Walkiria has been passionate about involving Latino communities in the efforts to protect our natural resources and become better stewards of our environment. In 2016 and 2017, CAF was awarded projects through the Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program to support and implement their Aguas Sana-Familias Sanas/Healthy Waters: Healthy Families program. This program used a train-the-trainer model to train and equip Latina promotoras (community health educators) as stormwater educators, who then held educational workshops at local faith-based organizations. Over 300 Prince George’s County families were collectively reached through both of the awards to CAF. The families that participated were able to learn about the connections between human and environmental health and were provided resources to improve their natural resources and build healthier communities.

Congratulations on this recognition, Walkiria! We appreciate all you do and look forward to continuing to work with you!

Spotlight on an Environmental Champion

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Environmental leaders are all around us, even within our local communities. Tiaa Rutherford of the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment (DoE) is one such leader. Tiaa has worked tirelessly to beautify and protect the natural resources of the Prince George’s County communities. Recently, Tiaa was publicly honored for her environmental efforts.

Tiaa was recognized as a Regional Environmental Champion at the 2020 bi-annual Taking Nature Black conference hosted by the Audubon Naturalist Society for her work to reduce the amount of litter in the Anacostia River and the streams throughout the County. Her work also helps the County meet the goals of their stormwater discharge permit under the Clean Water Act. As the DoE’s Litter Reduction Program Manager, Tiaa engages individuals, non-profits, and municipalities on a variety of litter-reduction initiatives. Tiaa, along with other DoE colleagues, were recognized in 2017 for their work in creating the litter-monitoring apps LitterTRAK and PGCLitterTRAK. PGCLitterTRAK allows communities and individuals to document litter data around Prince George’s County.

Tiaa posing with the Anacostia River trash trap signage.

As a partner of Prince George’s County, the Chesapeake Bay Trust has had the chance to work with Tiaa on projects funded by the Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program. In 2016, Anacostia Riverkeeper was approved for an award that funded the construction and installation of a “trash-trap” in the Arundel Canal of the Anacostia River. Tiaa was involved throughout the trash-trap installation process and provided outreach support to educate and engage County residents on the new installation. Currently, the Trust is working with Tiaa on a behavior-change litter reduction initiative.

Congratulations Tiaa, we look forward to continuing to work with you!

 

 

Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Awardees

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The Chesapeake Bay Trust, in partnership with Prince George’s County, is proud to announce the sixth year of Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program awards! The program supports projects that benefit neighborhoods while treating and controlling stormwater. The goal is to improve neighborhoods, improve water quality in the County’s local streams and rivers, and engage County residents in stormwater issues.

This year, a total of 14 projects were awarded a total of $979,056 to support stormwater projects that will engage 5,000 residents, treat over 11 acres of impervious surface, and plant over 1,900 trees and 11,000 native plants that will provide shade, cleaner air, and improve water quality. The awardees and their project descriptions are as follows:

Alice Ferguson Foundation: will install two stormwater retrofit practices within the barnyard area of the Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center. $140,000.
Anacostia Watershed Society:  will hold a Watershed Stewards Academy and Maryland Master Naturalist program that trains 60 watershed residents. $11,510.
Anacostia Watershed Society: will improve habitat and water quality along the Anacostia River using mussels, floating wetlands, and trees. $23,453.
Central Kenilworth Avenue Revitalization Community Development Corporation, Inc.: will plant 300 trees in the Greater Riverdale and Bladensburg neighborhoods. $134,031.
City of Hyattsville: will promote the importance and benefits of trees by implementing a Tree Canopy study and providing resources to residents to plant trees. $60,762.
City of Mount Rainier: will develop 11 green infrastructure practices to reduce stormwater runoff impacts and support making the City of Mount Rainier a model “green city.” $196,000.
EcoLatinos, Inc.: will carry out an outreach campaign to increase awareness of stormwater runoff and its impact on water quality among Spanish-speaking residents. $18,993.
EcoLatinos, Inc.: will lead the “Festival del Rio Anacostia 2020,” where more than 800 attendees can participate in environmental related activities. $23,694.
End Time Harvest Ministries: will engage residents in a clean water initiative educating surrounding neighborhoods on stormwater problems and possible solutions. $31,163.
Global Health and Education Projects, Inc.: will plant 200 trees through the Family Tree Adoption Program in high-priority areas of Prince George’s County that have low tree canopy. $115,969.
GreenTrust Alliance, Inc.: will add 5.5 acres of forested and warm season grass/ pollinator-focused headwater buffer to an existing stream and wetland restoration project at the USDA Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. $50,000.
Town of Cheverly: will design and implement a rain garden in the Cheverly Town Park. $54,954.
Town of Edmonston: will implement the fourth industrial “green street” located in the district of Lafayette Place. $68,527.
University of Maryland College Park: will develop a water quality action framework and outreach campaign for homeowner/community association boards, property managers, and residents. $50,000.

Congratulations to all the awardees, we look forward to working with you!

Wellness Ambassadors of End Time Harvest Ministries Take Action

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End Time Harvest Ministries Reverend and CEO, Gail Addison, touches on the successes of this tree planting and environmental literacy project, which was funded by the Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program.

Empowering residents to take action is an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to the protection and restoration of our natural resources. The Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program, in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Trust, awards grants to organizations that engage County residents in the restoration and protection of local rivers, which ultimately boosts the health of their neighborhoods.

End Time Harvest Ministries (ETHM), located in Bladensburg, Maryland is a faith-based organization with a mission that includes empowering youth to become leaders in their neighborhoods. One way that ETHM meets this goal is through their Wellness Ambassadors program, offering youth a variety of activities that promote health and wellness.

ETHM was awarded a grant in 2017 to conduct a Wellness Ambassadors Environmental Health Summer Employment Program. This program aimed to boost environmental literacy by connecting local stormwater management to the health and wellness of students and their families in the Port Towns, Kenilworth, and Riverdale neighborhoods. The Ambassadors participated in tree planting activities that were led by the Central Kenilworth Avenue Revitalization Community Development Corporation (CKAR CDC) and supported by the University of Maryland (UMD) and the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS). A total of 15 native trees were planted at an Edmonston Road site, an area selected by CKAR CDC for revitalization.  Students and their families also participated in a workshop held by AWS on the importance and benefits of trees in managing stormwater runoff.

Do you want to build a healthy neighborhood, too? Plant a tree! Trees help manage stormwater runoff by taking up greater amounts of stormwater through their roots (compared to a grass-only lawn), which filters out pollutants and reduces the amount of pollution that reaches our local waterways. Trees also filter polluted air and have the added benefit of making communities quieter by absorbing sound. Picking native trees to plant is especially important because they provide food and habitat for native wildlife and they require less maintenance.

This tree planting project boosted environmental literacy and gave students and families the opportunity to take part in hands-on learning experiences that positively contributed to their environment and overall health. Congratulations to End Time Harvest Ministries on a successful and engaging project!

New Hope Academy and Students Manage Stormwater Beautifully on Their Property

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Prince George’s County Department of the Environment representative Sudhanshu Mishra (left), and principal of New Hope Academy Joy Morrow (right of sign), pose with students in front of one of their rain gardens.

Across Prince George’s County, individuals, business owners, and non-profit organizations are taking action to protect their natural resources and build a greener, healthier environment. The Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program was set up in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Trust to encourage eligible applicants to apply for grants that will improve County neighborhoods while also treating and controlling stormwater.

Stormwater runoff occurs when rainwater lands on impervious surfaces, which are paved areas where rain cannot infiltrate into the ground. Instead, the stormwater flows across the paved surfaces, collecting debris, bacteria from pet waste, and other pollutants along the way. This polluted runoff enters storm drains and flows directly into our rivers. This results in poor water quality for humans and animals that depend on the water source. Impervious surfaces force large quantities of water to flow over paved surfaces rather than being allowed to infiltrate slowly can also cause flooding and erosion.

New Hope Academy (NHA), a K-12 international private school located in Landover Hills, is one such applicant that has used the grant program to implement a project to improve both their stormwater management and their community. Through the Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program, NHA was awarded a grant to install two bioretention cells (also known as rain gardens) totaling 250 sq. ft. on their school parking lot, along with educational signage about the rain gardens. The two rain gardens included a total of 22 native trees, some of which were blackgum trees. Blackgum trees are known for being an important source of nectar for honey bees, which play key roles in the environment as pollinators.

Educational signage installed in front of Rain Garden.

The rain gardens help to combat the large amounts of runoff that NHA was experiencing on its parking lot. The runoff caused erosion as it flowed through the parking lot into a nearby creek bed. The University of Maryland, a project partner, brought several college classes to the school property to study the stormwater management project’s implementation. This project will serve as an example of a successful, functioning bioretention project for all of NHA’s students, as well as the many visitors that come through their parking lot. The signage installed will also help students and visitors learn more about native plants, and the benefits they provide for our environment.

Congratulations to New Hope Academy for managing stormwater runoff beautifully!

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