Now’s your chance to plant trees
By Krista Pfunder
Anne Arundel County has lost close to 2,500 acres of tree canopy since 2013—more than any other county in the state.
Most of that loss occurred on private land, due to development like new strip malls and subdivisions. Now, two programs offer neighbors a chance to help replace those lost forests.
One effort, Replant Anne Arundel, hopes to plant more than 4,000 trees this year. The Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards Academy has joined forces with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and Anne Arundel County to recruit 800 county residents for planting.
Funded in part by the Helena Foundation, with the majority of funding coming from the county, Replant Anne Arundel is asking neighbors to get out in their communities and plant trees in 2020. They’ll show you how and even supply the trees.
The partnership will use native trees that are resilient to changes in temperature, precipitation, diseases and pests. The list of exactly which trees make the cut for “Resilient Tree Species” is still being finalized.
“Plants and trees native to the Chesapeake Bay region are important to our local ecologies,” says Josh Yetter Clark, restoration coordinator for the Watershed Stewards Academy. “They tend to have grown up here, meaning they are predisposed to handle our climate and require less fertilizers and pesticides—which reduces those chemicals from getting into our local waterways.”
Neighborhoods, churches, schools and any other group of concerned citizens are encouraged to apply. A designated Tree Trooper will lead your team. This volunteer from your community will receive training that covers topics like biology, proper planting technique and how to site a tree in a landscape.
If you are interested in being a part of Replant Anne Arundel, go to aawsa.org/replant.
Another way to help is through Backyard Buffers, which helps create a forest buffer of native trees and shrubs in your backyard. Native woodland buffers reduce the amount of sediment, toxins and fertilizers from entering our waterways.
Backyard Buffers—a joint effort with the Watershed Stewards Academy and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR)—distributes native trees and shrubs to individual homeowners (rather than organized groups) in Anne Arundel County.
“Native plants have naturally deep roots that hold onto soil, preventing it from washing to the Bay, and allow for great infiltration of stormwater, reducing the flashiness of rain events. Native plants and trees also support our local wildlife. From food sources for our pollinators to habitat for our birds, these plants are incredibly important to incorporate into our local landscapes.” Yetter Clark adds.
All Anne Arundel County residents are eligible for the Backyard Buffers program. Go to aawsa.org/backyard-buffers for more information.
Not a County resident? Go to the DNR website to find your county coordinator for the statewide Backyard Buffers program.