Staff from TreeBaltimore planting partners Blue Water Baltimore and Midtown Baltimore pose with the Little Miss Figgy plants, the most popular Fruit Tree Fair giveaway tree of 2018
TreeBaltimore is wrapping up a $500k grant from Maryland – DNR, at the end of September that has allowed us to plant an additional 855 trees and open almost 500 pits. Another funding source we are currently utilizing within TreeBaltimore includes $1.2M in Stormwater funds from Baltimore City’s Department of Public Works. Both these funding sources have helped us utilize our pit creation and tree planting contracts to the fullest regards. Final reports will be out this Fall (DNR) and Winter (DPW).
By Charlie Murphy, TreeBaltimore Operations Manager
Community Engagement and Plantings
The March ‘18 TreeKeepers series was very successful. Participants represented various neighborhoods across the city. Whether traveling from Pigtown, Woodbrook, or Hamilton, spring ‘18 participants filled the classroom, asking engaging questions during the three learning sessions. After lecture elements were complete, the group did a little sprucing up outside the Edgewood/Lyndhurst Rec Center. Several of our TreeKeepers continued their involvement, attending tree planting events to gain the required hands-on experience. It’s almost time to announce the newly certified TreeKeepers at the Summer Gathering. If you’re interested in attending the next workshop series, be sure to make it out on August 28th to hear about their experiences. Registration is open for three dates: September 19th, 26th, and 29th. Classes are held on two weekday evenings and one Saturday morning. A once-a-year winter tree pruning class is targeted for some time this winter.
Spring ’18 TreeKeepers class outside of Edgewood/Lyndhurst Rec Center
CC. Jackson Plants Two New Apple Trees
Aside from hosting the popular annual Fruit Tree Fair, the Baltimore City Fruit Tree Partnership was able to accomplish an impressive fruit tree installation this past spring. BCRP staff at the newly renovated C.C. Jackson Recreation Center had expressed interest in having fruit trees, and staff at Baltimore Orchard Project organized a care program which engages youth and Rec Center participants on the maintenance of the proposed fruit trees.
Ready and raring to plant | Photo: Ted Martello
Apple trees require that extra bit of care, so it was important that the community understand the maintenance requirements for keeping a healthy, fruitful tree. Rec Center staff agreed to perform the maintenance of these trees with technical assistance provided by Baltimore Orchard Project. TreeBaltimore added two pollinating apple varieties, Macoun and Golden Delicious, to the spring 2018 order list. On May 24th 2018, two apple trees with extra-large rootballs and 4” diameter trunks arrived at the planting site by way of the City prentice truck.
Rec Center supervisor Brenda Williams and participants back fill the hole. “They handled the tools and wheelbarrows very well.” | Photo: Chrissy Talbert
Chrissy Talbert from Baltimore Orchard Project describes her experience working with the Rec Center participants:
“We had a ball with the kids, the staff, and Ted during the planting. I was in awe when I saw everybody working together, especially the kids. After a demonstration on safety and proper use of shovel and other tools, they were sharing and taking turns with the shovels. I was nervous because these kids were very young, but they handled the tools and wheelbarrows very well. The recreation center staff was kind and helped out with handling the kids. Although it was almost 100 degrees that day, the kids still wanted to keep working on the trees. I had to take a break because it was so HOT! When I looked over they were still working and I thought, ‘wow these kids are strong!’”
The kids at CC Jackson signed the banner and posed for a photo at the end of the tree planting | Photo: Chrissy Talbert
Arbor Day 2018
The Baltimore City Forestry Board organized another great event, this time with the Flowering Tree Trail initiative in Middle Branch Park. New Era Academy students and faculty pitched in on this effort along with Mt Vernon based ABET: Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. With assistance from TreeBaltimore staff, the trees were delivered and planting holes were prepared the day before the event. It was beautiful and sunny that day, but the day of the actual tree planting brought rainy weather. Despite the dark clouds, the day was bright with lots of smiling volunteers in rain coats.
A sogged day brightened by smiles
This rainy Arbor Day 2018 saw the planting of several large flowering cherries, dogwoods, and crab apple trees as an extension of the Flowering Tree Trail. This day is perhaps the most ceremonial of all tree plantings each year. It’s important we engage youth through this experience and the profound difference one tree can make in the landscape. Every Arbor Day, the Forestry Board likes to make the day special with the official tree planting pledge, student tree poster showcase, and the chance to contribute something to the time capsule.
Volunteers look on as TreeBaltimore staff Ted Martello places the time capsule in a flooded planting hole | Photo: Sarah Lorde
32nd Street Farmer’s Market Tree Giveaway and Tree Planting
Coordinated by a local TreeKeeper, the Saturday farm market footprint in Waverly saw the installation of several new shade and ornamental flowering trees this past spring. The 32nd Street Market in Waverly is Baltimore’s longest running year-round outdoor farmer’s market.
Over the winter, a concerned community member spoke with vendors who spend their Saturday mornings serving customers week after week through some of nature’s harshest elements. There was one Saturday market cancelled this past December during a very cold spell, but normally you’ll find the vendors out there every Saturday from 7am-12noon serving the local community. If there ever were a public space stakeholder to engage with, it was going to be a market vendor who spends regular hours serving the community. Between farmers and sales representatives alike, the general consensus was there was a need for shade in the summer months. With shade trees, the market environment would be cooler and more comfortable for all participants, maybe even increase sales.
Next came the tree planting and volunteer planning phase. The catalyzing citizen enrolled for spring TreeKeepers classes, reached out to Baltimore Tree Trust, and communicated with staff at TreeBaltimore to coordinate multiple volunteer dates to get trees growing in the ground. With positive foresight, an agreement was secured with the nearby fire department to water the young trees through the summertime heat to ensure the invested volunteer time, money, and resources achieved the desired effect. A central median along which vendors set up tables and tents was immediately identified as a potential tree planting location. This planting site, of all the sites, will possibly have the greatest impact on impervious surface related solar radiation and heat. Additional planting locations were identified along grass strips in the perimeter of the parking lot, inviting market goers with a shady green approach.
On May 12th, Blue Water Baltimore and TreeBaltimore engaged home owners and City residents at the market through a young tree giveaway with the goal of increasing tree canopy on private lands. An array of species were offered from large shade trees like swamp white oak to small trees like sweetbay magnolia for small back yards. Before long, many green whips appeared swaying above heads as the crowd perused the market offerings, trees in hand. Over a hundred trees flew off the show floor in less than three hours, and as the market began to wrap up, a tree planting instruction began. Along Barclay Street, planting holes had been pre-dug, and Princeton Elms were staged. Volunteers worked together to tease those roots out of their containers, backfill planting holes, and install stakes and waterbags. At the end of the day, the group felt that this day was well spent in building community buy-in and green tree canopy.
TreeBaltimore participated in all four GROW Center events during April and May 2018. GROW stands for Green Resources and Outreach for Watersheds. This is a collaboration between Department of Public Works (DPW) and federal, City, non-profit, and community partners. The pop-up events covered the map well with locations around the city including Langston Hughes Community Center in West Baltimore, Baltimore Community Tool Bank in South Baltimore, and Madeira Street Community Garden in East Baltimore.
The intention is to increase citizen capacity for greening up their neighborhoods, while also addressing stormwater issues. Free trees and buckets of mulch were provided to City residents. In addition to these offerings, staff at Blue Water Baltimore and TreeBaltimore offered information related to boosting tree canopy. A tree planting workshop took place during the May 5th event, and Langston Hughes Community Center is now home to ten new flowering and shade trees.
Volunteers pose by their hard work at Langston Hughes Community Center
In summary, over 206 participants including 46 new greeners attended a GROW pop-up. These participants spanned over a wide array of community groups from 86 neighborhoods. About ten cubic yards of mulch were distributed and 110 trees given out to residents. A robust round of surveys were conducted during the course of the four pop-ups generating insight that will be used in planning future events. Be on the lookout for fall ‘18 pop-up dates and locations via social media and TreeBaltimore calendar.
By Ted Martello, Urban and Community Forester, TreeBaltimore