HCC Receives People Loving and Nurturing Trees Gold Award
The Maryland Urban and Community Forest Committee, of the MD Association of District Forestry Boards in partnership with the MD Department of Natural Resources, Forest Service presented Howard Community College with the People Loving and Nurturing Trees Gold Award (PLANT Award) for 2019. Vince Harding, groundskeeper; Buff Kelly, grounds supervisor; Bob Marietta, environmental health & safety supervisor; Chan Moeuy, groundskeeper; and Andre Wright, facilities service manager, received the award on behalf of HCC.
The PLANT award annually recognizes communities of all types who prioritize and actively care for their trees. Their gold award recognizes communities that develop comprehensive plans to improve the overall health and survival of their forested areas and identify tangible actions to increase sustainable practices.
Over the past few years, the college’s sustainability practices have made great strides. The Green Team, a cross functional team made up of students, staff and faculty, prioritized stormwater management and conservation landscaping by having four members complete the Chesapeake Bay Landscaping certification training. Additionally, HCC now requires its contracted landscaping company to have at least one Chesapeake Bay Landscaping certified representative on staff. Since completing this training, the Green Team is focused on increasing biodiversity in the understory of the more mature forested areas and delineating meadow spaces.
HCC’s sustainability initiatives don’t end there. The Green Team added a vegetable garden on campus that produces vegetables for the campus food pantry. With the aid of local Master Gardeners, they plan to create an edible landscaping project on campus. The college continues to collaborate with local sustainability organizations like Howard EcoWorks and the Wilde Lake Plant Exchange to relocate non-native plants that do not meet the requirements for HCC’s arboretum and food forest.
This coming year, Green Team will continue their efforts to replace unused grassy areas with trees and native conservation plantings. There are several ongoing tree buffer projects on the horizon in partnership with Howard County Recreation and Parks’ Stream Releaf Funding and Boy Scouts of America. Through these initiatives, the college remains committed to take a leadership position in promoting sustainability practices in our community and beyond.