Nearly 100 registrants from throughout Frederick joined together on Saturday, March 2, at the Hood College Whitaker Campus Center to hear a slate of speakers discuss practical and specific programs and activities that renters and home-owners can pursue to be better stewards of the environment.

Joining Friends of Baker Park in underwriting the event with direct and in-kind financial support were the Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources/The Green Leader Challenge, The Trail House (see related article), the Hood College Coastal Studies Program, the student Hood Environmental Advocacy Team (HEAT), and Jean Peterson Design.

Dr. Drew Ferrier of the Hood College Coastal Studies Program keynoted the event with an overview of how citizens who live in the 66 acres upstream of Culler Lake affect the quality of water and stream bed integrity in Carroll Creek, the Monocacy, the Potomac, and the Chesapeake Bay. One of his key guiding principles was that incremental improvements by each of us can cause big and helpful changes to our downstream watersheds. Following him was Sabrina Harder of the Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources. She introduced attendees to The Green Homes Challenge and its component programs on becoming a Power Saver; A Green Leader; and a Renewable Star. She also discussed upcoming plans to pursue community solar technology purchases at a discount under a Solarize Frederick project.

Four workshops then followed. Ruth H. Axelrod, University of Maryland University College and Frederick County Master Gardener, introduced attendees to gardening options and practices that help support our ecosystem, including diversifying with native trees, plants and ground covers, creating habitat and managing soil fertility. In a parallel session, Annmarie Creamer of the Frederick County Department of Solid Waste Management discussed composting, Recycling, and other Solid Waste Stream Reduction Strategies.

Following a break, Michael Judd of Ecologia, Edible & Ecological Landscapes addressed rain water harvesting designs that retain rain water and reduce storm water runoff, including raised bed gardens shaped on contour, rain gardens, french drains, dry wells and food forests that turn runoff into bounty. In parallel session, Heather Montgomery of the Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resource Attendees detailed examples of community restoration projects installed throughout Frederick County via collaborative partnerships supported by the Monocacy & Catoctin Watershed Alliance. She noted that these restoration projects include reforestation plantings, urban tree canopy initiatives, engineered bioretention swales, and rain gardens.

Exhibitors at the event included Friends of Waterford Park, Frederick County Master Gardeners, Ecologia, Edible & Ecological Landscapes, Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources, Stadler Nurseries, Aquabarrel LLC, Porter Fieldhouse Foundation, LLC, Standard Solar, and Lucy and Amelia, LLC.

Friends of Baker Park, Inc. was joined by other event cosponsors, including Friends of Waterford Park, Hood College Coastal Studies Program, Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources, the Hood Environmental Advocacy Team (HEAT), Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC) 6/9, Frederick County Master Gardeners (FCMG), Downtown Frederick Partnership, The Garden Club of Frederick, and The Men’s Garden Club of Frederick.