Most Howard County residents live within a half-mile of a storm drain or stream that eventually leads to the Patuxent or Patapsco rivers and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. It is vital that residents learn how their behavior affects the health of our local waterways and become inspired to care for our natural resources. To achieve this big-picture goal, CEI applied for a Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT) grant to create a new native tree grove in community open space owned by the Columbia Association. Also supported by the Howard County Forestry Board and the Audubon Society, this project was designed to achieve the following objectives:
In collaboration with the Columbia Association, CEI identied a plot of land in their open space property on which to create the new, native tree grove. The site location is just northeast of Woodblock Row in the Village of Oakland Mills. Prior to planting it was a mix of early succession black locust, autumn olive, and invasive vines. This location is in the Little Patuxent watershed adjacent to a tributary to the Little Patuxent River and along the Columbia “Lake to Lake Trail”, making it a strong choice for broader community visibility.
In April of 2018, two community events were held to prepare the site and then to plant the site with 213 trees from 18 different native species. Over 150 people participated in these two events. Since that time we have organized several events to tend to the tree and weed the grove. The trees are growing well and we look forward to seeing how this grove grows overtime and being able to replicate similar efforts around the community!