The Maryland Department of the Environment is joining in the worldwide call to environmental awareness that is Earth Week. That means planting trees, picking up litter, teaching children how they can Reclaim the Bay and more.
Volunteers participate in the 2013 Arbor Day tree planting in Western Maryland.
To kick off the week’s events on Earth Day itself, MDE Secretary Robert M. Summers and staff from MDE’s mining program will help plant trees Tuesday at a former coal mining site near Frostburg in Western Maryland. The event, organized annually by the mining program, will also include 40 students from the Allegany County Center for Career and Technical Education and volunteers from local watershed groups. About 2,000 native hardwood seedlings from the John S. Ayton State Tree Nursery are expected to be planted over two to three acres. The annual event also marks Arbor Day.
As part of the event, this year’s Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative Excellence in Reforestation Award for a Maryland company will be presented to Vindex Energy Corporation. The company is co-hosting the event and will also provide volunteers to help plant trees.
The event is designed to emphasize the long-term economic and environmental benefits of reforestation of former mine sites. Planting trees on former mining sites brings environmental benefits such as minimizing erosion and helping to conserve water resources. Trees also provide wildlife habitat and remove carbon dioxide from the air, helping us to address the risks of climate change.
Over the years, cost-share plans through MDE’s mining program have helped Maryland coal mine operators to plant millions of trees on thousands of acres of reclaimed surface coal mines.
Also on Tuesday, MDE will be a part of Earth Day events at the state Motor Vehicle Administration headquarters in Glen Burnie and at the Maryland Transportation Authority.
About 1,000 employees participate in the MVA environmental fair. The Maryland Transportation Authority event is geared toward providing employees with information on what they can do to help the environment. That event includes presentations on rain gardens and rain barrels and an Environmental Wheel of Fortune game.
But why stop at Earth Day? Count MDE in for what has grown in recent years to be known as Earth Week.
As part of the UMBC Students for Environmental Awareness’ weeklong EcoFest, MDE will provide information for the organization’s fair on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, MDE employees will pick up litter and debris along the Gwynns Falls Trail. MDE will join the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in presenting awards to winners of the Color Maryland Green poster contest.
Secretary Summers will wrap up the Earth Week observances on Friday, when he will visit third-grade students Potomac Elementary School to talk about the importance of controlling polluted stormwater runoff and what they can do to Reclaim the Bay.
“Under the leadership of the O’Malley-Brown administration, we’ve made great progress in recent years in cleaning up our environment in Maryland. But a lot more work needs to be done,” Secretary Summers said. “The things you do every day can make a big difference. I encourage everyone to join in the effort to protect and restore our environment for our own quality of life and for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.”