Let’s plant trees!

We plant and take care of trees because they shade us, provide cooler buildings, streets and neighborhoods, because they deliver soil aeration, erosion control, habitat for wildlife, and because they offer beauty. Trees supply the critical function of drawing down carbon from the atmosphere and putting it in the soil. As Bishop Eugene Sutton puts it: “They take care of us. Let’s take care of them!”

Fall is the perfect season for planting trees in Maryland. How can you get involved? Ordinarily, we could point you to a variety of tree planting events, but due to the global pandemic, many such programs are on hold or scaled way back. But, here are a few ideas to get involved right now:

Watch for Blue Water Baltimore Facebook alerts about its tree planting events coming soon in Baltimore City.

Photo credit: Baltimore Tree Trust

“Forest conservation bills rippling through Maryland counties” – Bay Journal

By Dick Williams, Memorial Episcopal Church

Tim Wheeler’s article for the Bay Journal reflects a certain level of sanity being stitched into land use practices around our state. Taming developer-propelled tract housing so as to lessen habitat and biodiversity destruction is critical to specie survival.

Representing GreenGrace, I sat in on as many of the weekly conference calls about Anne Arundel County forest conservation from late August as I could. Organized and led by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters’ Ben Alexandro, experts and advocates from many environmental organizations–the CBF, the Sierra Club, the South River Federation, Growth Action Network, Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake and Smart Growth Maryland among them–developed factual land use statements, rebuttals and edits of the proposed legislation for county council members who were being pressed mightily by the monied interests in the county and elsewhere. The many organizations also got their members to attend rallies and sit in on Council hearings at crucial junctures.

An impressive environmental brain trust acted continuously in support of County Executive Steuart Pittman’s pledge: “We’re going to strengthen the Forest Conservation Act in the county so that it drives development into the areas that do not have trees and make it tougher to develop in sensitive areas that do,” he said.

“Forest conservation bills rippling through Maryland counties” – Bay Journal

By Timothy B. Wheeler, November 20, 2019

“Forest conservation efforts are slowly gaining traction in Maryland, one county at a time.

“After holding multiple public meetings and debating dozens of amendments, the Anne Arundel County Council on Nov. 18 unanimously passed legislation to strengthen local forest retention and replacement requirements in one of the state’s most populous and fastest growing counties.”


Biomimicry. Know what this term represents? If not, look further…

by Dick Williams, Memorial Episcopal Church

Let me introduce you to Janine Benyus, an American natural sciences writer who is largely credited with bringing the systems of biomimicry to light. She first published her book, Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, in 1997, then updated it in 2002.

She’s the founder of the Biomimicry Institute where you’d find under Biomimicry 101 this helpful explanation: “Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies.”

She goes on: “A sustainable world already exists. Humans are clever, but without intending to, we have created massive sustainability problems for future generations. Fortunately, solutions to these global challenges are all around us.”

“The goal is to create products, processes, and policies—new ways of living—that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul.”

I first became aware of her through her work’s impact on the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge rating system. This, to my knowledge, is the world’s toughest certification process for “regenerative” buildings, whether new construction or substantial rehabs.

“Living buildings” are certified according to 3 metrics:

  • Regenerative buildings that connect occupants to light, air, food, nature, and community.
  • Self-sufficient and remain within the resource limits of their site.
  • Create a positive impact on the human and natural systems that interact with them.


Anyway, happy learning about biomimicry, if new to you.