Planting Some Gratitude


By Kimberly Kweder

Anne Arundel County residents can express their gratitude for the planet by planting trees, courtesy of the Watershed Stewards Academy.

The Groves of Gratitude initative is part of WSA’s larger tree planting program, Replant Anne Arundel. From 2013-2017, Anne Arundel County lost 2,500 acres of forests, the highest rate of forest loss in Maryland. Replant Anne Arundel engages communities across the county to plant native trees which are vital for protecting the atmosphere, ground, and wildlife.

“Tree roots hold soil in place, prevent it from washing into our waterways, and promote infiltration. Trees are also an integral part of our ecology, giving food and shelter to native animals,” states WSA Development and Communications Coordinator Katie Foster.

County residents can place orders on WSA’s website until Nov. 3 (this program is not available to City of Annapolis or Fort Meade residents). There’s a wide range of woody perennial plants to select from: American holly, American hornbeam, American linden, black gum, eastern red cedar, eastern redbud, northern red oak, pawpaw, serviceberry, staghorn sumac, sycamore, and witch-hazel. Choose from either single native trees or pre-designed, native tree bundles.

Each bundle provides a specific benefit, such as increasing pollinator habitat, screening from roads and neighbors, shading for more efficient energy usage, or providing a sustainable food soruce.

WSA Restoration Technician Robert Pavlik said he enjoys how the pre-selected bundles add value to a landscape.

“For example, the screening grove features two species (American holly and eastern red cedar) that are evergreen trees which, once matured, can effectively provide a natural screen that can block noise, wind, and views from neighboring houses all year round. Each grove also comes with a planting plan which helps homeowners determine how far apart the trees should be planted,” he said.

Replant Anne Arundel’s mission is to plant thousands of native trees and shrubs in communities of all types this year, says Foster. She said the community outreach spans from libraries, religious places of worship, and schools.

Replant Anne Arundel is a partnership between the Watershed Stewards Academy, Anne Arundel County and the Helena Foundation. County residents have planted 382 trees on 87 project sites through Groves of Gratitude, which launched in 2020.

A donation of  $15 to $60 per bundle is suggested, with 50 percent of the donation going to the Anne Arundel County Food Bank. The other half will go to watershed steward training and projects.

Place orders at