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DNR Recognizes Forestry Staff Instrumental in New Lawn to Woodland Program

LtoWApril2014 (2)DNR Secretary Joe Gill, Maryland Forest Service staff, and Lawn to Woodland participants, gathered today in Brookeville to plant a tree on private property as part of the new program and recognize staff instrumental in its inception. The program, which helps Maryland landowners convert unused lawn to forest cover, is currently being piloted to eligible Arbor Day Foundation members in Montgomery, Baltimore, Carroll and Howard counties.

“Arbor Day marks the perfect opportunity to thank and celebrate these employees, who often go unrecognized, for their work to secure the health and prosperity of our natural world,” said DNR Secretary Gill. “Their efforts, along with those of our partners and conservation-minded citizens, have made Maryland a national leader in sustainable forestry practices.”

Secretary Gill awarded the 15 DNR Forest Service staff certificates of appreciation for their work in making Lawn to Woodland a reality. The Central Regional Foresters recognized were: Robert Prenger, Daniel Lewis, James Eierdam, Donna Davis, Beth Sanders, Jamie Weaver, Chris Smith, Sue Mahanes and Wayne Merkel. Headquarters Forestry Staff were: Marian Honeczy, Shenika Dyson, Kenneth Jolly, Don Van Hassent, Richard Garrett and Rob Feldt.

Staff and landowners also planted a tree in celebration of the new program on a participant’s property in Montgomery County. The tree was just one of more than 300 provided to the landowner free of charge.    

Launched by Governor O’Malley this past January, the exciting stewardship program helps Marylanders who own one to four acres of land convert unused lawn to forest cover at no cost.

DNR provides participants with trees, tools and technical assistance for planting and maintaining a healthy tree canopy that will support a myriad of environmental, economic and recreational benefits. The opportunity will be expanded first to non-Arbor Day Foundation members in these counties, and later to eligible landowners statewide in subsequent planting seasons.

Lawn to Woodland provides citizens with the resources to establish healthy forests on their property, which benefits all Marylanders, helping reduce greenhouse gas pollution, prevent further climate change and improve water quality,” said Steve Koehn, director of DNR Forest Service. “Participants also reap personal benefits, including reduced time mowing, lowered energy costs and increased property values.”

Lawn to Woodland supports Maryland’s Forest Preservation Act of 2013, legislation that ensures the State maintains its current level of tree cover ─ 40 percent. This first of its kind legislation signed into law by Governor O’Malley last May, establishes new and expanded reforestation incentives and tools to help landowners and local governments meet and surpass the statewide goal. 

To learn more about the program, click here.