By Krista Pfunder
Anne Arundel County has lost 2,500 acres of forest since 2013—the highest rate of loss in the state. Neighbors can do their part to bring back local forests by planting trees on their properties this fall with the help of a new program.
The Anne Arundel Watershed Stewards Academy’s Groves of Gratitude program aims to replace these lost acres by giving county residents native trees to plant on their properties.
“There are eight different bundle packages available, with options for individual trees and groves,” says Katie Foster, development and communications coordinator for the Academy. “The individual tree packages include two small tree options; a dry canopy tree and a wet canopy tree.”
Each of the four grove packages provides a specific benefit, such as providing a sustainable food source, increasing pollinator habitat, screening from roads or neighbors or providing shade for more efficient energy use.
Trees and materials are funded by the Anne Arundel County Bureau of Watershed Protection and Restoration. A donation of between $15 and $60 per package is suggested.
“Fifty percent of proceeds from the program will benefit the maintenance of steward projects, from rain barrels to stream restorations,” Foster says. “Since 2009, stewards have installed over 3,200 projects across the county, driving change for sustainable landscapes and clean waters.”
Remaining proceeds will benefit the Center of Help to provide relief to families in the county who are experiencing health, housing and food insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In total, about 500 trees are available,” Foster says. “We anticipate reaching 100 county residents.”
Trees will be available for pickup Nov. 4 in the Annapolis area and Nov. 10 in Northern Anne Arundel County.