Maryland Is... Smart Green & Growing
Plant and Be Counted!
The DNR Forest Service handed out 6,000 free seedlings at movie theaters across Maryland this spring in celebration of the film, The Lorax. This Dr. Seuss story shows how important it is to take care of trees and forests, which provide many public benefits: clean air and water, wood products we use every day, wildlife habitat and recreation.
“This is a great opportunity for Marylanders to take pride in our State’s forests,” says Lindsay Major, DNR TREE-MENDOUS MARYLAND coordinator. “While The Lorax has trouble on his hands, we in Maryland have abundant, working forest lands cleaning our air and water, providing jobs, wildlife habitat and products, and being sustainably managed for generations to come.”
The seedlings were wrapped by students at Hereford High School, the Caroline Career & Technology Center and by volunteers from St. Michaels.
Throughout the year DNR offers a variety of native tree planting programs. TREE-MENDOUS provides high-quality trees and shrubs at reasonable prices for planting on public lands, such as community open spaces, school grounds, government facilities and rights-of-way.
The Gift of Trees plants trees in honor or memory of family and friends in their home county, to celebrate holidays, birthdays, and to observe other special occasions. A Gift of Trees is actually three gifts — one to someone you care for, one to future generations and one to the environment. Through the Marylanders Plant Trees program, citizens may use $25 coupons toward the purchase of native trees at more than 80 nurseries. Download coupons and register every tree you plant at maryland.trees.gov.
Measure your natural world impact
Maryland citizens can now gauge how they stack-up when it comes to sustainable living, with the Maryland Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) Citizen Calculator. This interactive tool uses factors from individuals’ economic, environmental and social activities to compute how their lifestyle affects the world around them.
The new calculator allows visitors to alter factors that make up the GPI to see their impact on Maryland’s overall quality of life measurements. In addition, each indicator links to government programs and initiatives that can help Marylanders make informed decisions.
“With the addition of the Citizen Calculator, residents now have a suite of tools to measure our well-being, and more importantly, adjust the figures to see how we can improve — both on the statewide level and as individuals,” says Sean McGuire, project leader of the DNR Office for a Sustainable Future.
The GPI incorporates 26 factors in three categories — economic, social and environmental — from the costs of crime to the costs of ozone depletion. This tool is designed to allow citizens and policy makers to better balance the true costs and benefits of everyday decisions.
The GPI is one of a host of innovative interactive tools — such as GreenPrint, BayStat and the Maryland Green Registry — under Governor O’Malley’s Smart, Green & Growing initiative.
It’s greener on the other side
Maryland inmates are doing their part to make the State a little greener. The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services inmate work crews have joined many community organizations and other State agencies to advance sustainability projects such as planting trees, harvesting oysters and cleaning dump sites.
Additionally, inmates are working at the Hagerstown recycling plant where they separate and load plastics, cardboard, paper and other reclaimed materials. This plant recycles an average of 20 truckloads of materials every month.
The Maryland Correctional Enterprises (MCE) program, which offers job training to incarcerated individuals, provides more than a positive work experience — it positively impacts our economy as well. Maryland made more than $230,000 by recycling in 2011.
A study shows inmates who work with MCE maintain a lower-than-average rate to commit another crime after being released.
“When they were incarcerated, they basically weren’t working. They were doing other things that got them into trouble,” says James Taylor, MCE recycling program supervisor. “This program gives inmates an opportunity to become productive in society.”
First Clean Marina of the Year Award announced
DNR presented Steuart and Hamilton Chaney, owners of the Herrington Harbour Marina, with the inaugural Clean Marina of the Year Award on January 26 at a Clean Marina workshop in Annapolis.
Herrington Harbour received a $1,400 prize from EMP Industries/Elias Environmental for their efforts. The runners-up were Spring Cove Marina in Solomons and Tidewater Yacht Service Center in Baltimore.
To earn this title, Herrington Harbour demonstrated excellence in the overall cleanliness of their facilities, offering environmental services and implementation of clean marina rules and practices.
The marina’s two facilities are located on Herring Bay in southern Anne Arundel County. Each facility contains nearly 600 slips with direct access to the Chesapeake Bay.
The marina created more than four acres of tidal wetlands, set aside 600 acres in perpetual preservation, cultivated oysters to filter Bay water and installed buffers to filter stormwater. They also operate several pump-out stations and enforce strict environmental rules on any work done in the boatyard. As a result, the initiatives have produced significant improvements in water quality and advanced their clients’ appreciation of the environment.
The Maryland Clean Marina initiative recognizes and promotes marinas, boatyards and yacht clubs that meet legal requirements and voluntarily adopt pollution prevention practices.
DNR has certified nearly 25 percent of Maryland’s estimated 600 marinas as Clean Marinas or Clean Marina Partners. All marinas and boatyards are encouraged to participate. Hamilton and Steuart Chaney win 2011 Maryland Clean Marina of the Year Award Kids enjoy time spent at Nature Play Space.
Nature Play Spaces invite exploration
Going outside to play is becoming more stimulating and engaging for Maryland children with the creation of Nature Play Spaces — outdoor activity areas designed to encourage fun and learning in a natural setting.
Studies show that young people benefit from spending time outside; early exposure to nature can improve attention span, promote self-confidence, invoke calmness and result in other health benefits. However, many children today spend less time outdoors, often missing out on the opportunity to explore local woods, look under a rock or take refuge in a natural shelter.
To make it easier for children to experience nature close to home, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature are working to provide exciting alternatives to traditional playgrounds via Nature Play Spaces. These projects include all sorts of natural elements such as rocks and logs for scaling and climbing, dirt for digging and paths and trees for exploring. With the addition of stones, branches and pinecones for creative projects, these sites provide perfect settings for children to connect with and learn about their natural world.
The Nature Play Space Pattern Book is an online tool that features examples of these projects in Maryland, and allows visitors to navigate through a catalog of natural objects and activities used for climbing, hiding and balancing. These project examples are helping inspire schools, conservation organizations, communities and families to create their own play spaces across the State.