Rawlings-Blake and Smith Call for More Trees in Neighborhoods-
Growing Home Campaign Targets Tree Canopy Deficit

Overlea, MD. (October 21, 2010) –  Chesley Avenue in Overlea will be considerably greener next spring – both in appearance and benefits to the environment thanks to some tree-planting assistance from Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith and Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. The two top executives teamed up this afternoon to plant trees and encourage area residents to plant trees in their yards.

This tree-planting event provides an opportunity to highlight collaboration among the City and County, watershed and community organizations, and citizens for improving water quality and community quality of life. Community greening is a focus area identified in the Baltimore Watershed Agreement, a partnership between the city and county to address pollution problems in the region’s watersheds. Increasing the tree canopy is a major step to improving water quality in urban areas. Two existing community greening initiatives to increase urban tree canopy include TreeBaltimore and the Growing Home Campaign.

“Together residents in the region have planted about 7,000 trees through the Growing Home Campaign since the program began in 2006, and that’s a great start, but we need to do more,” Smith said, “The cool fall weather makes this a great time for all of us to ‘Fall for a Tree’ by planting trees in our communities. Trees not only beautify communities, but they also help reduce home energy costs, reduce storm runoff into our waterways and cut greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.”

Growing Home Campaign
Developed in 2006 by the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management, the Growing Home Campaign has been adopted by Baltimore City and Harford County. Throughout the region, the program now serves a total population of 1.6 million people and encompasses a land area of more than 1,100 square miles.

“I want to thank County Executive Smith for being a partner in the Growing Home campaign,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “He understands that the air we breathe and the water we drink does not care about boundary lines. The trees planted throughout the region as a part of Growing Home will make the air and water we share cleaner.”

Growing Home is a partnership between the participating jurisdictions; homeowners; and tree retailers like nurseries, home improvement stores and garden centers. The program features education for residents on tree species selection, planting instructions, site considerations and maintenance. This nationally recognized public/private partnership addresses a deficit in the local tree canopy by providing money-off coupons for homeowners to purchase trees worth $25 or more at participating retailers and plant them in their yards. Retailers share half of the cost of the $10 coupons. (PDF opens new window)

Support for Growing Home is provided in part by the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Honeywell Corporation. “Honeywell is proud to support the Growing Home Campaign to increase urban tree canopies in Baltimore County, which will ultimately help protect the Chesapeake Bay Watershed,” said John Morris, Director of Honeywell Environmental Projects. “We are committed to supporting community projects that protect and enhance the environment.”
Award Winning Program

The Growing Home Campaign was called “one of the region’s most aggressive efforts to expand urban forests” by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay in the April 2008 issue of the Bay Journal, and was awarded a 2008 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award.

Learn More
Citizens can learn more about great trees for our area and get $10 Growing Home coupons online at two sites:  www.growinghome.info  and also at http://baltimorecity.gov/Government/AgenciesDepartments/RecreationandParks/TreeBaltimore/Programs.aspx  In addition, brochures with the coupons are widely available in public libraries and senior centers.