Volunteers and neighbors pitched in to plant 342 trees in ten Towson communities in November and December. Green Towson Alliance recruited most of the new homes for the trees as part of its Shade Tree Program. Blue Water then ordered the trees and organized the volunteers to plant them in 6 work sessions in November and December. The native trees planted this fall include Willow Oaks, Northern Red Oaks, Swamp White Oaks, Tulip poplars, American Elms, Bald Cypress, London Planetrees, American Linden, Riverbirch, Black Gum, Serviceberry, and other native trees, which were chosen for specific types of locations.
Green Towson Alliance volunteers and Green Teams from neighborhood associations went door-to-door last summer to tell people about the opportunity to purchase and have trees planted through Blue Water Baltimore. Homeowners were able to choose what sort of tree they wanted in their yard. Many native canopy trees were chosen because of their ability to shade homes in the heat of summer, act as a windbreak from harsh winter winds, and soak up the heavy downpours that have been occurring in the Baltimore region due to climate change.
Neighborhood trees have much to offer these communities. Besides providing a sense of peace and beauty, they are homes and perches for the songbirds and wildlife that are also our neighbors. In Anneslie, some neighbors also planted street trees in the verge between the sidewalk and the street. They learned how to install their own root barriers, as required by Baltimore County, in order to protect their sidewalks.
Planting native canopy trees is one of the best steps we can take to mitigate climate change. Studies have found that a tree canopy can lower neighborhood temperatures by as much as 10 degrees in the summer. Trees absorb carbon and remove pollutants from the atmosphere. They act as water filters by absorbing excess nitrogen and phosphorus. Trees absorb 96% of ultraviolet radiation, improve property values, and have measurable positive effects on the mental and physical health of the people who live near them.
Dr. Carol Newill, who has led GTA’s efforts to recruit neighborhood environmental advocates to help find homes for the trees, says “I am delighted by the record number of native shade trees that were planted and by the record number of Towson neighborhoods participating in the program this year. These young trees will grow over the coming decades, hopefully for 100 years or more, providing ever greater amounts of shade, storm water absorption, air pollution filtering and noise buffering. They will increase property values, and provide beauty and the gifts of Nature for generations to come.”
Green Towson Alliance will be organizing more tree plantings next year! If you want to plant a tree next year, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .