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April 22, 2013

Stream Restoration Challenge Kicks Off with Spring Plantings

by Martha

Program accepting proposals through May 30

Kent County Public School students are working to plant more than 4,000 trees at the Sassafras NRMA in Kennedyville.

Kent County Public School students  planting  trees at  Sassafras NRMA in Kennedyville

This spring, more than 2,000 students from across Maryland got an early start on their Earth Day contributions, planting trees to improve water quality through Governor Martin O’Malley’s Stream Restoration Challenge. The program ─ which is still accepting proposals ─ provides grants for students and groups to carry out projects to improve Chesapeake Bay water quality through service learning and environmental education activities.

“I want to thank and commend these hardworking students and partnering organizations for volunteering their time and resources for the Stream Restoration Challenge,” said Governor O’Malley. “It is vital that we involve, educate and inspire our children ─ the stewards of tomorrow ─ as we work to restore our streams, rivers and our beloved Bay.”

This month alone, nearly 1,500 students will plant 30,000 trees across Maryland through the Stream Restoration Challenge. Participants and partnering volunteers include Boy Scout groups, Allegany County Schools and Government, Trout Unlimited, Howard County Public Schools and Government, the Port Tobacco Conservancy, Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Arlington Echo, Marley Middle School, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to name a few.

In one of the largest projects, students from Kent County Public Schools, in partnership with Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and Sassafras Environmental Education Center, are planting more than 4,000 trees at the Sassafras Natural Resource Management Area in Kennedyville. Over seven planting days, 300 students will participate, earning service learning hours and putting their classroom lessons to work on the ground.

Governor O’Malley launched the Stream Restoration Challenge last summer to establish 1,000 acres of forested stream buffers in Maryland by 2015. The program will provide up to $6 million in grants to help local governments, school systems, and non-governmental organizations carryout projects to improve Chesapeake Bay water quality and create service learning and environmental literacy activities for students. Proposals are chosen based on how effective, efficient and economical they will be, and the level of student participation they will support.

DNR is accepting proposals through May 30, 2013. The Request for Proposal is available at dnr.maryland.gov/trustfund/streamchallenge.

The Stream Restoration Challenge supports the Governor’s Smart, Green and Growing initiative, which engages every Marylander in the State’s efforts to create a more sustainable future. Funding for these grants is made available through the Chesapeake & Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund. Click here to see current participants. 

DNR encourages every Marylander to celebrate Earth Day by planting and registering a tree this spring. Trees protect air and water quality, reduce energy costs, increase property value, and beautify neighborhoods and highways. Since 2009, citizens have planted and registered 102,089 trees in areas all across the State under the Marylanders Plant Trees program. DNR is continuing to provide $25 coupons toward the purchase of native trees.

 

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