Environmental Concern to become Host for Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteers

Connor Burton

Environmental Concern was recently selected by the Chesapeake Bay Trust as a Host Organization for Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteers. This CCCV Program funds a one year paid internship for selected participants to work with an organization whose mission is consistent with the goals of the Trust and the Corps Program. Environmental Concern has been restoring wetlands in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed for 45 years. Teaching and mentoring the next generation of Bay stewards is one of EC’s primary goals and is consistent with the goal of the Corps Program.

A total of thirty-seven Host Organizations were matched with forty-two Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteers. EC was honored to be selected as a Host Organization for two Volunteers. Samantha Alvey and Connor Burton joined the EC team in late August for the 2017-2018 Corps Program. Samantha and Connor will be required to design, plan, fund and construct a Project. The Project planning process challenges the volunteer to learn design software programs, prepare grant applications to fund the Project, and to work with community volunteers to implement the project.  

Samantha Alvey

Samantha will be working with Environmental Concern’s Education staff, to complete the Queen Anne’s County Public School’s Milkweed and Habitat Maintenance and Monitoring Grant. Samantha will also develop an Environmental Literacy Pilot Implementation Program. After completing this project, Samantha will work with EC’s Mid-Atlantic Monarch Initiative to promote processes that increase the availability and production of milkweed species- the key habitat of the endangered Monarch butterfly.

Connor will be working with Environmental Concern’s Restoration and Nursery Teams. Connor is working with the EC staff, controlling invasive Phragmites, in the first 2 months of his Volunteer commitment with EC. Connor learned quickly that getting wet and muddy is a requirement in the wetland field. Connor is working with EC’s Restoration Specialists, assisting with Projects throughout the year. The projects involve site surveys, developing concept designs , site assessments, and monitoring and maintenance. Connor’s “Work Plan” also includes supporting the Nursery’s seed collection initiative, plant propagation and processing activities. We are confident that Connor will be well prepared to start a career in the wetland field when he has completed his Volunteer commitment with Environmental Concern.

“We are grateful to the Chesapeake Bay Trust for selecting EC as a Host Organization”, said Suzanne Pittenger-Slear, Environmental Concern’s President. “We look forward to mentoring these two exceptional individuals. They will join a long list of environmental professionals who started their wetland career at Environmental Concern.”

Environmental Concern Celebrates 45 Years with Upcoming Native Plant Sale

In celebration of 45 years working for wetlands, water quality and beneficial habitat, Environmental Concern (EC) will offer the largest selection of quality native plants in the region at their upcoming Fall Native Plant Sale. Join the EC staff for a festival of the senses – see the vivid red bloom on the cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis); smell the scent of the wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa); and hear the birds, bees and bullfrogs that live in our wetland habitats.

EC’s native wetland plant nursery was the first of its kind in the nation – long before wetlands were accepted as anything but mosquito infested swamps. Since 1972, EC has expanded from a group of interns and biologists working out of an oversized garage to a 6 acre horticulture, education, and restoration facility.

EC’s campus, located at the headwaters of the San Domingo Creek, now supports 19 greenhouses, a wetland education building with classroom and creative activity spaces; a seed propagation and research workspace; the technology and resources required to provide wetland restoration design and construction services, and over 20 full time employees – all focused on improving water quality and increasing crucial habitat in the Chesapeake Bay.

Thanks to the support of the community, students, teachers, businesses and our partners, since 1972 EC has educated over 40,000 teachers, students and community members; propagated, grown and planted over 30 million native plants on shorelines and landscapes in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed; restored over 1.6 million sq. ft. of eroded shorelines and constructed hundreds of ponds, rain gardens and other types of stormwater management facilities.

With your help, we’re continuing our mission to increase the quantity of native species in our local habitats, and in your gardens. We invite the public to join EC for the 16 th annual Fall Native Plant Sale and Open House. In addition to the plant sale, Community Workshops will be held from 10:00 – 11:00 am each day. “Monarch Rearing” is the feature presentation on Friday, September 8 th , and “Late Season Nectar Sources for Monarchs” will be offered on Saturday, September 9th. Participants will see the Monarch caterpillars munching on milkweed. If the time is right, you may see a Monarch emerging from its chrysalis. What is the chrysalis? Pre-register for the workshops at www.wetland.org to find out!

This fall, we have invited Eat Sprout to join us on Saturday. Eat Sprout will be offering delicious, breakfast and lunch specials for purchase. Enjoy a leisurely lunch while enjoying the serenity of the San Domingo Creek.

EC’s Campus is located at 201 Boundary Lane in historic St. Michaels. The sale hours are Friday, September 8 th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Saturday, September 9 th from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Visit www.wetland.org for more information

Best Management Practices for Weed & Pest Control

grasshopper_0597August 24, 6-7pm rescheduled from June!

Learn from the growers. Gain an understanding of the importance of using integrated pest management practices and techniques for your garden. Make a difference by using herbicides properly. Help us improve water quality and enhance habitat in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Smart gardening for the health of the Bay!

For more information and to register call 410.745.9620 or visit http://www.wetland.org/ restoration_MAMI_Workshops.htm   Please pre-register as space is limited. $10 donation per workshop helps to fund our Education Outreach Initiatives.

Mark the Date: Environmental Concern Native Plant Sale May 6

Environmental Concern Inc., a non-profit, wholesale native nursery located in St. Michaels, MD, opens its campus to the public two times a year for a Native Plant Sale. Join us on May 6 and 7 for our spring community sale. Featured will be a variety of native plants for pollinators and butterflies including milkweed for the Monarchs as well as garden accents.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 7.40.29 AM“Native Plants for Pollinators” will be held on Friday, May 6 from 10-11 a.m. at Environmental Concern Inc. in St. Michaels, MD. Learn what plants to use for native gardening that will help the birds, bees and butterflies. Visit our annual plant sale after the talk to fill your garden with locally propagated native plants. Pre-registration is required as space is limited. $10 donation will benefit our educational outreach programs. Visitwww.wetland.org for more information. EC is a 501(c)3 not for profit corporation. 410-745-9620

“Milkweed for Monarchs” will be held on Saturday, May 7th from 10-11 a.m. at “Environmental Concern Inc. in St. Michaels, MD. Learn all about the Monarch Butterfly in this comprehensive talk that covers the appropriate habitats and food for this ‘near threatened’ butterfly. Visit our annual plant sale after the talk to fill your garden with locally propagated native plants including a variety of milkweed and pollinator plants.

Pre-registration is required as space is limited. $10 donation will benefit our educational outreach programs. Visit www.wetland.org for more information. EC is a 501(c)3 not for profit corporation. 410-745-9620

 

Chesapeake Conservation Corp Volunteer Rosenblum Completes Capstone Project

Environmental Concern Inc. welcomed Zoe Rosenblum, a Chesapeake Conservation Corps (CCC) Volunteer, in August 2014. The CCC program is sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Trust. When the Volunteer agrees to be matched with a Host Organization, they have certain requirements that must be accomplished during the 1 year placement. One of the projects is called the Capstone Project.

Rosenblum applied for a Chesapeake Bay Trust Mini-Grant for her Capstone Project: the design and construction of a Native Plant Seed Propagation and Pollinator Garden for $1249. EC provided $679 of in-kind funding (discount for plants and excavating). This project included the planting of select species that EC propagates for wholesale, retail and restoration purposes. In addition, the garden was planted with species known to benefit monarch butterflies. It also included the construction of solitary bee confinements to help with pollination and integrated pest management. Interpretive signage was also installed to enhance the garden’s use in EC’s educational plant identification courses.

Planting day took place on June 23rd with the help of eight local student volunteers and YMCA counselors. Matthew Crow, beekeeper, was also in attendance to give a talk and demonstration about the apiaries kept on EC’s property.

Eastern Shore Non-Profit Awarded Living Shoreline Project

Environmental Concern was awarded the Walton Preserve Living Shoreline and Habitat Enhancement Project from the Town of North Beach in Calvert County. Funding for the project is the result of a $540,000 grant North Beach obtained from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Grant Program. Only 4 NFWF grants were awarded in Maryland, and 53 nationwide.

Students working on North Beach shoreline

Students working on North Beach shoreline

Environmental Concern will construct a Living Shoreline at the Town’s Walton Beach Nature Preserve site located between MD RT 261 and the open waters of the Chesapeake Bay (a short 8 mile boat trip from Tilghman Island on the Eastern Shore, directly across the Bay to North Beach on the Western Shore). The design will protect the 105-acre North Beach salt marsh from further erosion and prevent damage to the road. The North Beach salt marsh is also an important Black Duck stopover. The Living Shoreline will provide additional habitat for this and other important species, as well as provide numerous water quality and educational benefits.

A portion of the grant will fund the participation of approximately 600 students in the restoration process. The students will learn about the importance of wetlands while being immersed in the large-scale restoration project. Students will be active participants in an “Assistant Wetland Scientists Program” that will immerse them in the water, mud, and fun of implementing best management practices. Students will collect baseline measurements of water quality by testing physical parameters including nitrates, phosphates, salinity, pH levels and more. All of the information collected will be used to evaluate the success of the restoration project after the shoreline restoration has been completed.

The scope of the student participation in the large scale living shoreline project has the potential to become the model for future outdoor education experiences. The students will continue to visit the North Beach restored shoreline, knowing that they took part in creating a thriving habitat that will improve water quality and provide food, cover and nesting for waterfowl. They made a difference in their community – one that all residents of North Beach will benefit from.

Environmental Concern is a non-profit corporation established in 1972 that exists to promote public understanding and stewardship of wetlands with the goal of improving water quality and enhancing nature’s habitat.

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Environmental Concern Holds Spring Native Plant Sale

Environmental Concern’s annual Spring Native Plant Sale will be held on Mother’s Day weekend. Our staff will be ready to welcome the public on Friday, May 8th and Saturday, May 9th. Growing more than 120 species of shrubs, trees, and herbaceous plants for over 43 years, Environmental Concern (EC) hosts one of the largest native plant sales on the Eastern Shore. The sale will take place at EC’s campus located at the head of San Domingo Creek by the St. Michaels Nature Trail. Plan to walk the trail during your visit as many native species will be in bloom.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 8.43.10 AMEC’s featured plant this spring is yellow sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale). Vibrant yellow flowers bloom from June through November. Helenium autumnale offers high wildlife value. Both butterflies and hummingbirds find the flower an attractive food source. This easy-to-grow perennial mixes effortlessly with other summer blooming natives such as swamp milkweed and butterfly milkweed – two plants that are crucial to the survival of the Monarch Butterfly. The Monarch population has decreased by 90%. Help increase the population by planting milkweed in your garden this year.

Perennial favorites including the showy violet-blue flowered pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata) as well as the eye-catching cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) will also be available. The vibrant scarlet blooms of the cardinal flower, visible from May through October, offer hummingbirds an endless supply of nectar.

The sale hours are Friday, May 8th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Saturday, May 9th from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Pre-orders will be accepted until Wednesday, May 6th. Contact Penny at (410)745-9620 or email at nursery-sales@wetland.org.

All proceeds from the plant sale will help fund EC’s mission to improve water quality and enhance native habitat in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

EC is a 501(c)3 public not-for-profit organization. For more information, visit www.wetland.org or call (410)745-9620.

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Environmental Concern Awarded Living Shoreline Project in Calvert

Jessica Lister, Environmental Concern’s Vice President of Restoration, assists students as they dip net and seine (fishing with a vertical net) to take a sampling of the number and species of macroinvertebrates and fish living in the shallow waters of the North Beach shoreline.

Jessica Lister, Environmental Concern’s Vice President of Restoration, assists students as they dip net and seine (fishing with a vertical net) to take a sampling of the number and species of macroinvertebrates and fish living in the shallow waters of the North Beach shoreline.

The Town of North Beach Walton Reserve Living Shoreline and Habitat Enhancement Project was awarded to Environmental Concern at the October meeting of the North Beach Town Council. Funding for the project is the result of a $540,000 grant North Beach obtained from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Relief Program. Only 4 NFWF grants were awarded in Maryland.

Environmental Concern will construct a Living Shoreline at the Town’s Walton Beach Nature Reserve site located between MD RT 261 and the open waters of the Chesapeake Bay. The design will protect the 105-acre North Beach salt marsh from further erosion and prevent damage to the road. The North Beach salt marsh is also an important Black Duck stopover. The Living Shoreline will provide additional habitat for this and other important species, as well as provide numerous water quality and educational benefits.

Education Director, Kate Frase, observing species in a dip net in shallow waters of the North Beach shoreline.

Education Director, Kate Frase, observing species in a dip net in shallow waters of the North Beach shoreline.

As part of the education initiative, the Calvert County Public School students will learn about the importance of wetlands while being immersed in the large-scale restoration project. Students will be active participants in an “Assistant Wetland Scientists Program” that will immerse them in the water, mud, and fun of implementing best management practices.

The initial stage of the North Beach Shoreline Restoration Project took place during the first week of November. Approximately 600 students from Calvert County Public Schools participated in baseline assessments at 9 stations, set up by the EC staff along the shoreline. Each group of 9th graders had the opportunity to work as student scientists, conducting water quality tests, habitat assessments, and identification of existing vegetation. Students documented the existing site conditions through the collection of data. All of the information collected will also be used to evaluate the success of the restoration project after the shoreline construction is completed.

The students will also help plant over 10,000 native wetland plants when the shoreline is restored and prepared for the final phase of the project. The planting is scheduled for spring, 2015.

Environmental Concern is a non-profit established in 1972 that exists to promote public understanding and stewardship of wetlands with the goal of improving water quality and enhancing nature’s habitat. To learn more, please visit www.wetland.org.

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Environmental Concern Prepares for 12th Annual Fall Native Plant Sale

Impressed by the vivid white blooms of the Sweetbay Magnolia? Choose the perfect magnolia for your landscape at Environmental Concern’s (EC) annual Fall Native Plant Sale on Friday, September 5th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, September 6th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The sale will take place at EC’s Campus located at the head of San Domingo Creek on Boundary Lane in historic St. Michaels, Maryland.

A hardy selection of trees and shrubs will be offered for purchase this fall. The Sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana) is one of the local favorites. Our featured plant for the Fall Native Plant Sale, the Sweetbay magnolia, has 2″-3″ lemon-rose scented creamy white flowers, visible in late spring and early summer. It has a very pleasing shape when used as a specimen tree. Bright scarlet-red seeded fruit ripens in late summer, attracting many birds.

The Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) will also be available in several sizes. The vibrant red flowers create an eye-catching display. Add this plant to the garden for late summer/early fall color. It grows best in moist to wet soil in full or partial sun and will thrive along the margin of a garden pool. Once established, it usually will re-seed itself – assuring future nectar for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. For gardeners in the Mid-Atlantic Region, fall is an ideal time to plant native plants. After the last heat wave of summer passes, the cooler months allow plants to establish good root systems before the next dry summer season.

Select your plants from the largest collection of locally grown native herbaceous plants, trees and shrubs in the Region. EC specializes in native plants grown from seed and propagated on-site. Visit our website at http://www.wetland.org/whoweare_history.htm to read about the nursery’s founding in 1972.

The sale hours are Friday, September 5th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Saturday, September 6th from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Contact Penny at (410) 745-9620 or e-mail at nursery-sales@wetland.org. Members will receive a 10% discount. A special membership packet will be offered to new members on Saturday, September 6th.

All proceeds from the plant sale will help fund EC’s mission to improve water quality and enhance native habitat in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
EC is a 501(c)3 public not-for-profit organization. For more information, visit www.wetland.org or call (410) 745-9620.

Environmental Concern to Hold 12th Annual Native Plant Sale

The Environmental Concern nursery season kicks off with the annual Spring Native Plant Sale on May 9th and 10th. Growing more than 120 species of shrubs, trees and herbaceous plants for over 40 years, Environmental Concern (EC) hosts one of the largest native plant sales on the Eastern Shore. The sale will take place at EC’s campus located at the head of San Domingo Creek in historic St. Michaels. Bring your kayak and picnic lunch. The view is free!

EC’s featured plant this spring is the wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa). Tufted lavender flowers are produced at the end of each stem from June through July. A wide variety of butterflies find the wild bergamot an attractive nectar source. This easy-to-grow perennial mixes effortlessly with other summer blooming natives such as swamp milkweed and butterfly milkweed.

Perennial favorites including the pervasive pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata), known for its showy violet-blue colored flowers, as well as the eye-catching cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) will also be available. The vibrant scarlet blooms of the cardinal flower, visible from May through October, offer hummingbirds an endless supply of nectar.

The sale hours are Friday, May 9th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Saturday, May 10th from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Pre-orders will be accepted until Wednesday, May 8th. Contact Penny at (410) 745-9620 or e-mail at nursery-sales@wetland.org. Members will receive a 10% discount. If you’re not a member, a membership representative will be on-site to answer questions about benefits and membership levels. A special membership packet will be offered to new members on Saturday, May 10th.

All proceeds from the plant sale will help fund EC’s mission to improve water quality and enhance native habitat in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. EC is a 501(c)3 public not-for-profit organization. For more information, visit wetland.org or call (410) 745-9620.