Stewards Awarded Grant Funding for Native Plants

From unitygardens.org, edited by Katie Foster for WSA blog.

This fall, Unity Gardens awarded almost $10,000 in small grants to organizations in Anne Arundel County. Grants of up to $1,000 were awarded to nonprofit groups who will use funds to purchase native plants to complete their community’s raingarden and conservation landscaping projects. These efforts use native plants to address stormwater and provide valuable habitat for pollinators, birds, and wildlife.

Ten organizations were awarded grants in the Fall of 2019. The following eight grantees are Steward led projects! Congratulations to the following Stewards who are making a BIG impact on community change for water quality in Anne Arundel County.

Lower Magothy Beach Community Beach
Jim Crafton, Class 11 Steward Candidate, Severna Park

To provide native plants to construct three conservation landscaping areas to control onsite stormwater.

Friends of Jug Bay
Lynette Fullerton and Keli Stambaugh, Class 11 Steward Candidates, Lothian

This project will enhance the beauty of the pollinator and bird garden and help Jug Bay teach visitors about conservation stewardship.

London Towne Property Owners’ Association (LTPOA)
Nina Brackman, Class 11 Steward Candidate, Edgewater

To build a conservation landscape to control stormwater runoff, erosion and flooding, as well as educate neighbors on the practice so they can replicate using native plants on their properties.

Saltaire at Annapolis Condominium
Nancy Galetsky, Class 8 Master Watershed Steward, Annapolis

To build community engagement and reduce runoff to Back Creek by planting natives that are beneficial to pollinators and birds and provide ongoing demonstrations of the use of native plants in the landscape.

Empowering Believer Church - Eden Ministry
Roz Davall, Class 11 Steward Candidate, Glen Burnie
The present conservation landscape will be enhanced with additional native plants and will increase awareness of environmental conservation to the community.

Pines on the Severn
Tine Dickey, Cindy Hall and Noelle Chao, Class 11 Steward Candidate and Class 10 Master Watershed Stewards, respectively, Arnold
Creating a pollinator/butterfly garden (conservation landscape) to reduce erosion and runoff near a community playground. Installing native plants at this highly visible site will demonstrate to community members the value of using native plants in landscaping and erosion control projects.

Mt. Moriah AME Church
Phil Colbert, Class 11 Steward Candidate, Eastport

This stormwater conveyance maintenance and planting will control runoff into Back Creek, in addition to reducing erosion at the site. The grant, which is a Watershed Stewards Capstone Project, will serve to beautify the local area, educate the congregation, and encourage the community to manage stormwater.

Annapolis High School
Beth Foster, Class 5 Master Watershed Steward, Annapolis

This project will rehabilitate the existing entrances to Annapolis High School, a Green School, using native plants. The Annapolis High School Environmental Action Club will partner with the community to accomplish the project.

About Unity Gardens: Unity Gardens is a nonprofit organization based in Anne Arundel County that supports the building of community partnerships through its grassroots grants program. Unity offers grants to schools, religious organizations, watershed stewards, homeowners’ associations, scout troops, and other nonprofit initiatives that require plant funding in order for their conservation landscaping plans to get off the ground. Since 2001, Unity Gardens has given out almost $450,000 to over 500 organizations in Anne Arundel County.

Unity Garden’s mission is to empower and educate diverse Anne Arundel County communities to create and sustain healthy ecological spaces that enhance life, one native garden at a time.

Latin for Gardeners: September 2019

September’s Native Maryland Plant 

Campanulastrum americanum

L. (kum-PAN-you-luh-strum uh-mair-ih-KAY-num)

Common Name: American or tall bellflower

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My birthday is this month, and the birthstone in September is sapphire which can be many colors but is usually associated with blue, very close to the color of Campanulastrum americanum – my new favorite plant.  When it’s your birthday you often do a bit of reflection on where you’ve been and how things are going:  Health okay? Keeping your mind busy? Spending quality time with family and friends? 

In mid-April, I visited my good friend Judy Fulton at her home.  Judy was kind enough to give me some Lindera benzoin (spicebush) saplings for my community.  As I was leaving her house and walking to my truck she said, “Wait a minute Alison”, she nonchalantly reached down and gently pulled a 4” plant from the ground and handed it to me.  “This is one of my favorite’s”, she said, “I think you’ll like it too.” I thought to myself “that’s nice Judy”, but for those of you who know Judy Fulton you know she loves native plants - seemingly all native plants - so she could have just handed me a Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed Susan).   I went home and busied myself planting the saplings, I almost forgot about this mystery plant; it wasn’t until early May that I made a home for it in my garden.

Getting back to sapphire:  sapphire is formed from the mineral corundum, normally drab and grey - also the second hardest mineral after diamond.  This little 4” plant Judy handed me, seemed kind of like corundum to me (even a conundrum) – not much to look at, at least not in April. Like corundum, however, this plant turns out to be a sapphire in the garden – a real stunner - when it’s in its gem form; (in June-August, maybe even September if I’m lucky). The light blue, star-shaped flowers appear in clusters or solitary in the axils of the upper lance-shaped leaves.  And oh, just look at that style with its three-lobed stigma!

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Campanulastrum americanum is a biennial (blooms in its second year then dies), but will easily remain in a garden by self-seeding.  I’ve already weeded around my specimen hoping it reseeds aplenty so I can enjoy its beauty for many years to come.

As my birthday nears, I know I have a multitude of people and things to be grateful for; Campanulastrum americanum and Judy Fulton are both high on that list.

Genus campana comes from Latin and means “bell” in reference to the bell-shaped flowers.  Species means from America, North or South. NOTE: This plant was previously known as Campanula americana L. but was reassigned to its own genus because of the unique structure of the flowers.

 

~ Alison Milligan – Mstr. Gardener/Mstr. Naturalist/Mstr. Watershed Steward

Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional (CBLP)

aligmilligan@gmail.com

No Moore Pet Waste in the Magothy

Guest post written by Susan Cohen, Class 11 Steward Candidate

Just after I moved into the Moorings on the Magothy community in January 2018, I adopted a rescue puppy. I began walking her in the neighborhood and meeting my neighbors, those with and without dogs.  Everyone wanted to say hello and pet 8 week-old Zooey, which allowed me to make over 35 new friends very quickly and to meet almost everyone who owned dogs.  One of the first things I noticed about my small community of 80 townhomes was that there was a pet waste problem. I began modeling good pet waste clean-up behavior immediately (using eco-friendly bags, cleaning up after every time, and carrying a flashlight at night)  but only a few of the neighbors seemed to notice. So for my first WSA action in the community I began a pet-waste awareness and action campaign.

While I did raise the issue at a HOA meeting and present facts about pet waste and the environment, I did not feel this was effective—group think has a way of focusing on the negatives. I believe that talking directly to neighbors, one-to-one, is the more effective way to help them feel connected and to help them take responsibility for mitigating environmental problems it the community. For my pet waste campaign I dreamed up a plan to talk with every dog owner in the community and give them an eco-friendly pet waste bag filled with information about pet waste, organic dog treats, and my contact information which was attached with my WSA card by a hemp string.  This way, I could also hang the information on the front door if I was unable to talk with folks directly.  I also wanted to find a way to get other members of the community involved in meeting their neighbors and empowering them to help keep the pet waste out of our communal yard.

By the time I enacted the pet-waste campaign in my neighborhood, I had determined which households were the worst offenders, so I asked those specific neighbors if they would like to help me with the pet-waste campaign. I was positive and did not indicate that I had noticed that they were more likely than other neighbors to leave pet waste in our communal yard areas. I was delighted when these specific neighbors agreed to help and I talked with them about the environmental and other reasons for being responsible for their dogs’ pet waste.

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Within Moorings on the Magothy there are three distinct sections, so we approached those sections on different days. We either spoke directly to the dog owners or left the pet-waste informational goody bags on the front door with my contact information. WSA also provided me with pet waste information signage which we posted in very visible areas in the community.

While the problem is not 100% solved, it is significantly improved. I will do a follow-up this fall and try to get the teenagers in the neighborhood more involved.

All in all, it the pet waste education action was effective, the neighbors noticed the change, and it is no longer an issue that emerges during HOA meetings or causes finger pointing in the neighborhood.  But I do feel it will require occasional follow actions to maintain awareness and to celebrate and reinforce the positive changes.