Volunteers in Perry Hall Plant Trees to Improve Water Quality and Benefit Fish and Wildlife
Darcy Herman, Clear Creeks Project Assistant Project Manager
On Saturday, April 15, 38 volunteers gathered near a woodlot in Perry Hall on a clear, chilly morning. Their mission? To help plant 100 native trees and shrubs on the grounds of the Maryland State Game and Fish Protective Association (MSGFPA), a Baltimore County conservation club. The tree planting event is part of the MSGFPA Bay-Wise Project, a 2017 Gunpowder Valley Conservancy Clear Creeks initiative that seeks to engage MSGFPA members, Girl and Boy Scouts, Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) club members, and other MSGFPA users and neighbors in restoring water quality and protecting fish and wildlife through a range of stormwater best management practices—tree planting among them.
Not only will the native trees and shrubs help to control erosion on the MSGFPA property and filter stormwater pollutants before they reach Honeygo Run, they will also serve another purpose that is near and dear to this over 120-year-old conservation club—providing food and habitat for native wildlife. Tree and shrub species were chosen for Bay-Wise Project for their high wildlife value as well as their ability to thrive in the club’s sandy-loamy soil. For example, lowbush blueberry and cranberry viburnum shrubs will produce fruits for birds and mammals. The leaves of native oaks, hickories, and other trees will provide important food sources for 530 species of butterflies and moths, and 150 native birds that will eat the caterpillars. Additionally, the acorns and nuts will be foraged by squirrels, turkeys, and 96 other species of animal. This is all in keeping with the Bay-Wise Project’s goal to create healthy ecosystems and sustain the food web, which supports fish and wildlife locally to benefit the larger Chesapeake Bay region.
The volunteers represented Scout Troops 24, 26, and 124 and Pack 26; JOAD; MSGFPA members, and local residents. Five tree planting Crew Chiefs from the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy equipped the volunteers with tools and supplies, showed them how to properly plant a tree and protect it with a deer-proof shelter, then set them on their task. Over the next two hours, the volunteers planted 63 understory and canopy native trees and 37 native shrubs in the gaps that had been left in the forest when mature dead and dying trees were removed by the club several years ago.
You too can get involved with the MSGFPA Bay-Wise Project! We need volunteers to help install a Children’s Bayscape Garden on Saturday May 6 (2 – 4 pm) – – register online or contact Amy Young for more information. View the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy’s full list of free volunteer events and workshops HERE.