Planning a construction project at your house? First, consider your trees. They provide you with beauty, shade, and higher property value, so try to plan around them if you can. Design your new room with a view of your tree and the bird house or the feeder and the squirrel’s acrobatics, and the ever-changing display of leaves and branches throughout the season.

To preserve the trees you already have, protect the roots. Tree roots can be damaged easily in the process of home renovation. Weakened roots can lead to slow death for the tree that can take 1 to 5 years to become evident.

If grading your property is necessary for the project, bring in a tree expert before you begin to move dirt. The roots are close to the surface; about 80 per cent of the roots lie less than 24 inches deep. Roots can be buried too deep or destroyed in the process of grading.

Keep heavy items OFF THE ROOTS. Vehicles and supplies can crush the soil, the roots, and the mycelial structures underground that are essential to tree health.

How to do this? Mark out the “critical rootzones” of your trees, and protect the roots inside the zone. This is an invisible circle that runs just outside the drip line of the tree (just inside the edge of the canopy of the tree.) Directions for how to measure this circle are here.

Put a barrier, such as orange construction fence, around the critical root zone to keep off any vehicle, supplies, or other items. Instruct the crew chief that you want to critical root zone protected. If workers must walk or carry equipment over the critical root zone, it should be covered with planks for plywood to minimize crushng or compacting the tree roots.

Water the tree, 20 gallons slowly every week during the growing season to support its health during construction! Apply 3 inches of mulch over the critical root zone, too, to both retain the moisture and indicate that this area is to be protected.

If, despite all precautions, you notice dead sections or branches in an otherwise healthy tree, this can be a sign of root damage. The dead limbs will need to be pruned out to give the tree the best chance to flourish.

Trees add enormous value to our homes and our community. It is wise to plan ahead to ensure that your tree will survive any construction or renovation coming its way.

This article was written by Nancy Colvin and Carol Newill for Stoneleigh’s Greening & Recycling Committee, and published in the Winter 2023 issue of the Stoneleighite.

Mature oak tree next to a home.
A mature tree is truly a thing of beauty and adds so much
to a home, a neighborhood, and our communities’ ecosystem.

Removing Invasive Vines at Loyola Blakefield

by Ray Heil

As a practicing landscape architect, I’ve planted thousands of trees in my career.  Planting a tree is always a hopeful experience; we’ve always understood that if we can assure that the new tree is established after the first 3 years, the odds are good that it will continue to grow successfully and confer multiple benefits on the community.  But this is no longer true, due to the proliferation of aggressive invasive vines in the urban and suburban areas of Maryland.  We’re all familiar with stories about kudzu, “the vine that ate the South,” which is not a major problem in central Maryland, but what about English Ivy, Porcelain Berry, and Oriental Bittersweet, which are “devouring” our local trees?  You can see these invasive vines everywhere along local roads covering our trees and inhibiting their growth.  Depending on the size and vigor of the tree, these aggressive vines can be fatal.     

Volunteers removing invasive vines from trees
An example of invasive vines on mature trees. These vines were removed by Green Towson Alliance volunteers at Blakehurst Retirement Community in 2019.


Towson’s Loyola Blakefield High School, despite its continual growth, still enjoys stands of native tree species along the peripheries of its campus, and in protected stream buffer areas. As a member of Green Towson Alliance, I have been actively removing invasive vines from native trees in parks and private properties for a number of years.  For three years, Loyola Blakefield has invited me to talk about invasive vine removal and to lead field work with its students.

In August, I worked with 45 sophomores and their teachers during orientation week.  My in-class presentation included two short videos: on the importance of native plants with Doug Tallamy, and how to remove invasive vines from trees. (You can access these videos on Youtube.)

After introducing myself and the Green Towson Alliance, I tried to engage the students with questions, like which county do you live in? (Most were from Baltimore County, some from the city, but 4 other counties were represented.)  I told them that I am concerned about the world they will inherit, and about how emissions of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, are forming a “blanket” in the earth’s atmosphere that is holding in the sun’s heat and warming the planet.

I provided a simplified description of how a tree takes in carbon dioxide, combines it with water and sunshine to create energy for the tree to grow, and gives off oxygen, making it possible for us to breathe.  I discussed the important role plants play in providing oxygen to support other life forms, pointing out that during the very early years of the earth’s evolution, there wasn’t enough oxygen in the atmosphere to support animal life, until plants appeared.

I described the particular importance of plants native to central Maryland in supporting the native insects and birds with which they co-evolved, and ultimately, in supporting us.  So, removing invasive vines from native trees is something we can all do to mitigate climate change and address the decline of native insect and bird species.

I asked if any of them want to be engineers. A few students raised their hands, and I asked if any of them had ever thought about the possibility of creating a machine that would take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen to the atmosphere?  Some thought that was possible.  Then I pointed out that we already have a “machine” that does just that: the tree. 

I asked why they think it is 5 degrees cooler on the Loyola campus than it is in downtown Baltimore. This led to a brief discussion of the heat island effect in cities and the benefits of trees in cooling the atmosphere.

Finally, I pointed out that my generation has made major mistakes in the way we have treated the natural world because we don’t understand it very well. As students, they have a great opportunity now to learn about the natural world in depth, so they can preserve their home planet for themselves and future generations. 

After a brief review of the tools we would use in the field, and of what vine species we would be removing (mostly English Ivy this year) and which to avoid (poison ivy), we trooped out to the stream buffer on campus, which is “protected” from cutting but not from invasive vines.  Fortunately, I had cut English Ivy that covered a large white oak there last year, so I used that tree to demonstrate what we hoped to accomplish, and to point out that the ivy, while dead on the tree’s trunk, had started growing again at the base and would have to be removed from the roots.

Quiet but attentive in the classroom, the students were active in the field, and worked almost 2 hours removing ivy vines from trees.  I worked along with them but was exhausted after 60 minutes.  Their teachers kept the process going. 

I hope to be invited again next year to work with Loyola students.  They seem to be increasingly receptive to our message.  They are the future, and they are inheriting a world in profound need of ecological restoration.   

Ray Heil is a Professional Landscape Architect, and a Certified Maryland Master Naturalist. He is on the Executive Committee for the Green Towson Alliance, and is a Lead for the Homegrown National Park Workgroup.       

5 Rituals to Fall for in Autumn

And only one involves pumpkin spice…

by Anne-Marie Bonneau

The cooler weather brings with it many fall rituals. The following five will enrich your life while reducing waste.

Leaving the leaves

Last year, California became the first state to ban the sale of polluting, gas-powered leaf blowers. Hooray! These obnoxious devices emit more pollutants than some trucks. If Californians want to blow their leaves, they’ll have to buy battery-operated leaf blowers to do so.

But why blow the leaves around at all? Gathering up nutrient-rich leaves, bagging them in plastic and sending them off to landfill where, like all organic matter, they emit planet-heating methane gas, only to turn around and spend hard-earned cash on fertilizer and mulch requires way too much work!

When the leaves drop, consider doing nothing, other than watching and perhaps posting a couple of pictures of them on Instagram. The leaves will enrich the soil, provide cover for critters and provide free, water-retaining mulch. If you do rake them up—a thick layer may form on a lawn that you don’t want to kill—consider putting them in a flower bed or save them for the compost pile. Compost bins need lots of dry brown matter.

Buying the first sugar pie pumpkin or kabocha squash of the season

Sugar pie pumpkins and kabocha squash are now back at our farmers’ market! I cook these whole either in my pressure cooker or in the oven. After puréeing the flesh, I put it in pumpkin pie or pumpkin and spice sourdough quickbread or something savory like pumpkin dal. So good! Any leftover purée goes in the freezer in wide-mouth glass jars. Go here for instructions for freezing food in glass jars.

Roasting all the tomatoes

When we broke up with plastic, I had to figure out how to replace canned tomatoes—cans are lined with plastic (the stuff is everywhere!) and although many food manufacturers plaster the claim “Now BPA-Free!” on their packages, the can linings may contain something similar and just as bad. So I started a ritual of buying two or three 20-pound cases in late September or early October, when the prices have plummeted, and roasting them.

I spend a weekend cutting the tomatoes into wedges, spreading them out on baking sheets and roasting them at a very low temperature (275°F) for a couple of hours. Roasting concentrates the flavor and prepares these gems for their next incarnation—in tomato paste or pizza sauce or chana masala or tomato soup or spaghetti sauce or anything else that calls for canned tomatoes. I then pack the tomatoes into wide-mouth glass jars and after they cool, freeze them.

During this ritual, as I chop the 150th tomato, I ask myself, “Why am I doing this?” Then in winter, after thawing out a jar to make a fabulous sauce or other tomato-based dish, with that first taste comes my answer.

Here are more detailed roasting instructions. This year I also made a few jars of tomato purée and am sold. I’ll include those in my yearly squirreling-away-the-tomatoes ritual. Go here for the purée instructions.

Purging stuff

As we move back indoors with the cooler weather, we may need to declutter to make our homes more comfortable. Recent graduates, new parents, growing kids—they all have needs, perhaps for the items you no longer want.

My friends and I haven’t been able to organize a clothing/stuff swap since before Covid. I think it’s about time we did. Go here for info on our first swap from the Before Times and ideas for organizing a swap of your own. Or post your stuff to give away in a Buy Nothing group or on Nextdoor.

A school clothing swap

In 2019, my friend Monique Labelle-Wheeler, a teacher in Ottawa, organized her elementary school’s first clothing swap. It was a great success! Another one is in the works for this year.

I thought that by educating young people, it’s possible to remove the stigma about shopping secondhand and show them something we can all do to help save our planet. I told the kids that wearing secondhand clothes means that these garments won’t get sent to the dump. — Monique Labelle-Wheeler

Imagine if every school in North America hosted a clothing swap at least once a year. Literally tons and tons of clothes would be diverted from landfill.

Go here for Monique’s guest blog post outlining how to organize a clothing swap at your child’s school. Please steal this idea! Or do a costume swap for Halloween!

Hazardous stuff

While you’re purging, you may come across some household hazardous waste that can’t go in the regular trash. Go here for a blog post my daughter, a waste management professional, wrote regarding household hazardous waste. She recently made a small pile of decades-old paint cans she found in our garage. We’ll make an appointment with our city to drop those off.

Emptying the freezer

In fall, I also like to purge the freezer to make room for all the tomatoes and pumpkin purée I’ll stash in there. Although we didn’t buy very much at the farmers’ market this past weekend, we’ve been eating well all week long thanks in part to the food stashed in the freezer. (Did you know, freezing tofu renders a wonderfully chewy, meaty texture?)

Practicing a new or existing skill

The cooler weather is a good time to pick up a skill you can practice indoors—sewing, knitting, woodwork, cooking. As our society went all in on consumer culture, it abandoned many life skills, leaving us helpless and dependent on corporations to fulfill our every need. And as those corporations squeezed more out of their workers and drove down wages, many of us have no time to apply these skills.

One of the many aspects that I love about a low-waste lifestyle is the recovery of some of these hands-on, life skills. My neighbors may be (monetarily) richer than I, but they’re not eating better bread!

My friend Any uses fabric scraps and paper scraps for her hand-stitched English paper piecing

Five Rituals to Fall for in Autumn by Anne-Marie Bonneau originally appeared in The Zero-Waste Chef in September, 2022, and is reprinted with the permission of the author. Read about her new book and other other great ideas on living mindfully and well on the Zero Waste Chef website.

Candidates for Baltimore County Council Answer Questions about the Environment

We hope everyone will vote in the Primary Election on July 19.

Last month, GTA emailed all of the candidates for County Council for the Councilmanic Districts around Towson- Districts 2, 3, 5, and 6, inviting them to reply to five questions on environmental issues we consider to be high priority for Baltimore County. We received replies from 5 candidates: Izzy Patoka (D) and Tony Fugett (D) (Dist. 2), and Caitlin Klimm-Kellner (D) , Mike Ertel (D), and Tony Campbell (R) (Dist. 6).

The questions are listed below in bold, with the responses we received following the questions.

We encourage members of Green Towson Alliance to consider the candidates’ responses, below, when voting, and to hold the responding candidates who are elected to account.

You may also wish to email candidates who did not reply with questions about their environmental platforms. The email addresses of all the candidates we contacted are listed at the bottom of this document. We have also included a link to a list of questions for the candidates for the 6th Council District that was prepared and published online by the Towson Communities Alliance.

Thank you, as always, for all you do for our natural world.
Green Towson Alliance Executive Committee

Question 1: Several Maryland counties have strengthened their laws regulating how the Maryland Forest Conservation Act of 1991 (FCA) is implemented. Provisions in the FCA were intended as a minimum, with each county responsible for developing implementation laws in their own county. In 2022, the Baltimore County Commission on Environmental Quality (CEQ), at the request of the County Council, created a report including recommendations on strengthening forest conservation in our county, but thus far no changes have been made. The 3-part CEQ report is attached below for your information. Do you favor legislating improvements to implementation the Forest Conservation Act in Baltimore County, and if so, what changes do you support?

Response from Izzy Patoka (D) District 2:

I sponsored Resolution 135-21 that requested that the Baltimore County Advisory Commission on Environmental Quality (the “CEQ”) provide findings and guidance regarding the adequacy of maintenance periods for afforestation and reforestation projects. Currently, the County Code requires maintenance of afforestation and reforestation projects for a period of three years, with the intent of the law being that trees shall be established such that they survive for a longer period so that they replace forests lost to development. So the answer is Yes! At this point I support firm commitments from developers with longer maintenance periods an appropriate
species type planting.

Response from Tony Fugett (D), District 2:

To support resident’s quality of life, the environment must not only be considered, but protected. Therefore, I favor legislation improvements to implementing the Forest Conservation Act in Baltimore County. In addition to the recommended changes by the Baltimore County Commission on Environmental Quality (CEQ) I believe we should also:
● Analyze our existing trees within County easements to determine if they
are failing and need to be replaced.
● Increase replanting efforts of native plant species near riparian buffers and
● Support our natural resources management staff through funding that will
allow the County to extend its maintenance management plans and hold
developers accountable for their disruption of natural resources.
● Require developers to comprehensively analyze development impacts on
natural resources, hydrology, geology, and soils and place a 2:1
requirement on tree placement. So for every tree removed due to
development, the project must replant and maintain two trees.
● Increasing funding to purchase and conserve lands for the enjoyment and
prosperity of the natural environment and our residents.

Response from Caitlin Klimm-Kellner (D), District 6:

I do support legislating improvements to implementation of the Forest Conservation Act. I would follow the Commission on Environmental Quality’s recommendations. I would also strengthen the requirements for maintenance. For example, developers should be required to do inspections once a quarter instead of twice a year. I would also add that if any tree dies in that time period of developer responsibility, they must replace the tree. Baltimore County must also increase inspections to match the quarterly rate I suggested.

Response from Mike Ertel (D), District 6:

Yes, I favor legislating improvements to the Forest Conservation Act. I’d like to see the elimination of waivers.

Response from Tony Campbell (R), District 6:

      I agree with the four recommendations offered by the Baltimore Commission on Environmental Quality. Specifically making three changes to current county law:

·         Lowering the Forest Conservation Law from 40,000 to 20,000 SF

·         Revise fee-in-lieu charges as recommended

·         Increasing the maintenance period for developers to 10 years.

Question 2. Implementation of the state’s Roadside Tree Law (COMAR Title 5-401) in Baltimore County has been delegated to the Department of Public Works and Transportation. Currently, roadside trees are removed upon request from property owners for a small fee, and replacement trees are not required to be planted. Do you support reforms to strengthen the way Baltimore County implements the Maryland Roadside Tree Law to protect healthy trees and replace in the same geographic area those trees that must be removed?

Response from Izzy Patoka (D) District 2:

Yes. Tree removal initiatives must be done in a parallel effort with tree planting efforts. There are many organizations to partner with such as Blue Water Baltimore.

Response from Tony Fugett (D), District 2:

Trees contribute in several ways to our environment, from providing oxygen and improving air quality to climate amelioration, conserving water, cooling streets, and conserving energy. I support reforms that strengthen how Baltimore County implements the Maryland Roadside Tree Law to protect healthy trees and replace those that must be removed in the same area. I believe that roadside trees should only be removed is they cause harm or danger to pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicular drivers.

Response from Caitlin Klimm-Kellner (D), District 6:

I do support reforms to strengthen Baltimore County implementation of the Maryland Roadside Tree Law. Unless the tree is going to cause bodily harm, extreme building damage, cause major roadside visibility obstruction, the trees should stay on the property. If a property owner wants the tree removed, the fee should be increased and there should be a requirement that they must plant additional trees either on the property or within a county recommended area.

Response from Mike Ertel (D), District 6:

Yes, I’d also like to move not to have the county pay for any healthy trees being cut down that have buckled sidewalks. We need to add more arborists to the county DPW / DEPS staff.

Response from Tony Campbell (R), District 6:

Yes, I support reforms to strengthen Baltimore County DPW’s implementation of the Maryland Roadside Tree Law.  Replacement trees should be planted, and perhaps some tax reduction incentive to homeowners to provide maintenance of the new trees.

Question 3: Currently Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability relies primarily on traditional stormwater management strategies such as large regional ponds and stream restoration projects, both of which cause environmental damage. Industry best practices recommend addressing stormwater runoff close to where the rain falls through bioretention facilities, raingardens, green roofs, bio-swales and other environmental site design techniques, which are less damaging. Do you support a legislative effort to ensure that DEPS follows best practices to address stormwater runoff in the county?

Response from Izzy Patoka (D) District 2:

Yes . We should not settle for anything less than best practices in the industry.

Response from Tony Fugett (D), District 2:

Although buildings have gotten higher, and our cities have gotten smarter, our water infrastructure systems have not changed over hundreds of years, resulting in line failure, water contamination, and adverse environmental impacts. Access to clean water and the ability to treat wastewater are growing concerns, along with managing waste, water loss, flooding, and the impact of climate change and rapid urbanization. I support legislative efforts to ensure that DEPS follows best practices to address stormwater runoff in the County. I would hope to see the following improvements that have been implemented in counties and cities across the nation, such as:
● Improved packaging in grocery and retail markets
● Bag collection fee to promote the use of reusable bags
● Installing smart water and waste management technologies that detect
leakage, provide predictive maintenance, and support just-in-time waste
● Assisting businesses to switch to gray water infrastructure for landscape
● For development, reducing the extent of clearing, grubbing, and paving
● Eliminating the need for stormwater management ponds for development
(i.e. Pembroke Woods LID Subdivision in Frederick County, MD)
● Working with the Planning Department to create realistic parking
allowances for development.

Response from Caitlin Klimm-Kellner (D), District 6:

Yes I do support legislative efforts to ensure that DEPS follows the best practices in regards to stormwater runoff. As county residents, we do not hear enough about the best practice recommendations and I believe we need to legislate these efforts to ensure the best environmental practices.

Response from Mike Ertel (D), District 6:

Yes, I’d like DEPS to require stormwater runoff  through bioretention facilities, raingardens, green roofs, bio-swales and other environmental site design techniques.

Response from Tony Campbell (R), District 6:

Yes, I would support a legislative effort to better manage stormwater runoff.

Question 4: Baltimore County’s land development process has long favored the interests of the development community at a significant cost to the environment. The Green Towson Alliance promotes the following changes to the development process:
Strengthen the County’s Adequate Public Facilities Legislation to require fees from developers to fund water and sewer systems, public roads, schools, open space/parks, and other utilities.
Reform the environmental variance process to include a public comment period and tightening of criteria for granting variances.
Limited Exemption & Special Exception reforms, including notification of affected communities, guidance to communities in interpreting plan refinements, and an appeals process for administrative decisions.
Do you support these changes to the county’s land development process?

Response from Izzy Patoka (D) District 2:

Yes. In my first year of Office I supported legislation to create impact fees to offset the negative effects of development. I also support the implementation of the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance Task Force recommendations.

Response from Tony Fugett (D), District 2:

It is time for Baltimore County to favor its residents and the environment. I support changes to the land development process. I believe in civic engagement and transparency. Residents should know when development is proposed within 600 feet of their residence, so communities can come together to make a collective statement on its impacts.

Response from Caitlin Klimm-Kellner (D), District 6:

Yes, I support changes to the county’s land development process. Baltimore County is behind on developer fees so strengthening the County’s Adequate Public Facilities Legislation would help get the county to match other areas. I also believe that the residents should have a say in every decision and support the public comment period for environmental variances. I do need some additional research and conversation (regarding) Limited Exemption & Special Exception reforms. The way it reads to me is that we would be limiting notification of affected communities; and I believe communities should have as much notification and details as possible.

Response from Mike Ertel (D), District 6:

Yes, I support these changes to the county’s land development process.

Response from Tony Campbell (R), District 6:

For too long, developers have had their way in Baltimore County.  The “Pay for Play” system has benefited politicians and developers alike, and the environment and local communities such as Historic East Towson have suffered because of these backroom deals. 

Question 5: As Towson’s central business district is more densely developed, Green Towson Alliance supports the adoption of the urban design standards that were developed in the Walkable Towson Plan in 2010 so that the downtown is safer, more walkable, and more economically vibrant. Do you support the adoption by the County Council of better urban design standards for downtown Towson?

Response from Izzy Patoka (D) District 2:

Yes. Urban design stands are not static. They change with time. We may need to revisit all aspects of design in a post pandemic economy.

Response from Tony Fugett (D), District 2:

I support the adoption by the County Council of better urban design standards for downtown Towson, specifically traffic calming techniques and increasing opportunities and access to non-motorized transportation.

Response from Caitlin Klimm-Kellner (D), District 6:

I am a supporter of community plans therefore I support the Walkable Towson Plan from 2010. As stated on the Green Towson Alliance website: “this guidance and these regulations should not be compromised to further developers’ or governmental interests.” I fully support that statement and would like to partner with the Green Towson Alliance to ensure that those goals in the Walkable Towson Plan are being met.

Response from Mike Ertel (D), District 6:

Yes, we need Urban Design Standards for Downtown Towson.

Response from Tony Campbell (R), District 6:

As the former Bike and Pedestrian Program Manager for MDOT-SHA, I was involved with dozens of projects which helped to make communities across the state more walkable, more bicycle friendly, and healthier. Green and Open Space is at a minimum in the greater Towson area.  Trails should be developed between TU and downtown Towson, as well as the “Freedom Trail” linking Historic East Towson to the Hampton Historic Site.   Yes, I support the adoption of better urban design standards for downtown Towson.

Here is a list of the 15 County Council candidates Green Towson Alliance contacted:
District 2: James Amos (R )
Tony Fugett (D)
Izzy Patoka (D)

District 3: Wade Kach (R )
Roberto Zanotta (R )
Paul Henderson (D)

District 5: Philip DePaulo (R )
David Marks (R )
Crystal Francis (D)
Nick Johnson (D)

District 6: Tony Campbell (R )
Mike Ertel (D)
Shafiyq Hinton (D)
Caitlin Klimm-Kellner (D)
Preston Snedegar (D)

You can read the survey of District 6 candidates compiled by the Towson Communities Alliance here.

Green Towson Alliance Announces Its Second Native Garden Contest

Green Towson Alliance is kicking off its 2022 Native Garden Contest, and any gardener who lives in a Towson neighborhood and incorporates native plants, trees and shrubs in their yard is welcome to enter. An entry can be a specific garden bed, or the whole yard. People who have a rain garden designed to reduce lawn runoff, or a garden that features mature or recently planted native trees are encouraged to enter the contest.

Why native plants? Native plants are defined as plants and trees that have been growing in our region since before European colonization.  Research has found that most insects can only ingest  plants they have co-evolved with for thousands of years. Most butterflies and moths can lay  eggs only on  specific  plants that they have co-evolved with. Caterpillars that hatch from those eggs, and other insects, are a vital food for songbirds, especially when they are nesting. Nearly all birds feed insects to their fledglings. No insects, no baby birds!

The Native Garden Contest will celebrate  Towson gardens and yards that  support the health of our local ecosystems. More information on the contest and the importance of growing native trees and plants in your yard can be found at

Start snapping pictures of your garden! Participants will be asked to upload photographs of their garden when the contest opens for entries on June 13th. GTA’s Homegrown National Park Workgroup will visit the entries and announce the finalists on July 16th. The public will be invited to vote online for their favorite garden.

Last year, 27 people entered their gardens, and there were more than 440 votes to choose the winners of the 2021 Native Garden Contest. Last year’s winners were homeowners in the Rodgers Forge, Greenbrier, and Loch Raven Village communities. Burkleigh Square won a special award for its Community Garden.

Green Towson Alliance is a group of Towson area residents who care deeply about our natural world and are working to mitigate the effects of climate change. We have planted hundreds of trees, cleared out tons of trash from local streams, restored woodlands and parks by removing invasive vines that are strangling mature trees, and advocate for good environmental policy in  Baltimore County. This is our seventh year of service to our community and the environment.

The Native Garden Contest was born from the imaginations of members of the GTA Homegrown National Park Workgroup. We are inspired by a national project to restore our ecosystems. The purpose of this contest is to encourage and celebrate Towson gardeners who incorporate native trees, shrubs, and plants in their landscapes. Together, we can do our part to protect and sustain  the natural environment for our children,  grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, and all we love, including the non-human species who share our communities.