Over the course of 2020, the Southern Maryland Sierra Club and partner organizations have planted native trees in parks across Charles, St. Mary’s and Calvert counties. In parks from Waldorf to Lexington Park to Dunkirk, individuals donated their time to beautify our communities and support our local ecosystems.

Over 75 volunteers came out to our (properly socially distanced and masked) events to help plant trees. I would like to personally thank the individuals and members from Scout Troops, Cub Scout Packs, NAACP Charles and St. Mary’s chapters, church youth groups, Master Gardeners and Naturalists, and motivated individual volunteers in the Southern Maryland Sierra Club and beyond. You all came out, shovels at the ready, and got your hands dirty to help your community.

In all, 95 native trees were planted at 10 county parks. These trees will provide shade to park visitors in the summer and serve as windbreaks to the winter. In addition to adding aesthetically to their surroundings, these trees will serve as vital habitat, fostering the health of local birds, insects, mammals and reptiles. They will provide food and homes to countless native species. These trees help clean the air, prevent runoff, improve the soil and of course help to combat climate change.

I would also like to thank the various local and state government staff that partnered with us to provide planting locations and support. The parks departments of Charles, St. Mary’s and Calvert counties were amazingly supportive, with staff that truly care about the well-being of their parks and communities. And the project could not have been so large without the funding help and grants from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Tree-Mendous Program and the Maryland Urban and Community Forest Council.

Our tree plantings, and other service activities, are funded in large part by the membership dues and donations of local members and supporters of the Southern Maryland Sierra Club. I thank everyone who has given to support our efforts this past year. If you would like to become a member of the Southern Maryland Sierra Club, click the “Sign-up” button on our Facebook page or website. If you would like to volunteer your time, or donate to support our planting efforts or other activities, please reach out to southernmaryland@mdsierra.org. And the next time you are in a local park, take a minute to appreciate the value and beauty that trees add to our landscapes and our communities.