Students Branching Out
Students Branching Out engages Howard County students in local tree planting efforts. Students have participated in tree planting volunteer days and field trips, planted trees on school property, and promoted existing County tree planting programs. Over 6,500 trees have been planted with thousands of students so far!
Students Branching Out was originally funded by Maryland DNR’s Chesapeake and Coastal Bays program with support from Howard County Government. Howard County Recreation and Parks organizes the tree planting projects with help from the Office of Community Sustainability and the Department of Public Works.
Here is a video about the Howard County project and its successes from 2013–2015 (all of the school projects during that time are included in the video):
Students Branching Out provides tree planting opportunities on school properties as much as possible. So far, over 2,400 students have planted trees on school grounds! The schools that have been part of the project are:
- Glenwood MS/Bushy Park ES (fall 2013) – 1,450 trees
- Bonnie Branch MS/Ilchester ES (spring 2014) – 335 trees
- Dunlogggin MS/Northfield ES (spring 2014) – 420 trees
- Folly Quarter MS (fall 2014) – 384 trees
- Lisbon ES (fall 2014) – 480 trees
- Harpers Choice MS (fall 2014) – 446 trees
- Patapsco MS (spring 2015) – 280 trees
- Waterloo ES (spring 2015) – 122 trees
- Resurrection St. Paul School (spring 2015) – 62 trees
- Mount View MS (spring 2015) – 150 trees
- Howard High School (fall 2015) – 150 trees
- Bellows Springs ES (fall 2015) – 50 trees
- Hollifield Station ES (fall 2016) – 150 trees
- Our Lady of Perpetual Help (fall 2017) – 50 trees
- Mount Hebron HS (spring 2018) – 75 trees
- Mayfield Woods MS (fall 2018) – 170 trees
- Oakland Mills HS (fall 2018) – 50 trees
- Mount View MS (fall 2019) – 150 trees
- Centennial HS (spring 2020) – 75 trees
County Park Land
Howard County forests, including stream buffers, are facing a threat from an insect called the Emerald Ash Borer. To get ahead of this problem, Howard County’s Natural Resources Division assessed the ash forests using GIS mapping. In Students Branching Out, volunteers and professionals planted forested stream buffers with a diverse blend of native understory trees so that if the ash trees are destroyed, there will be new and healthy trees to protect the streams.
The first County land planted by volunteers was Rockburn Park in Ellicott City. Students and other volunteers planted trees there in the spring of 2013 and 2014. Dunloggin Middle School, St. Paul’s Resurrection School, and Oakland Mills Middle School all had tree planting field trips to the site. Over 400 students participated.
During the original grant-funded part of the project, Howard County’s Recreation and Parks also held tree planting volunteer days at Alpha Ridge Park (2013 and 2014), Hammond Park (2014) and West Friendship Park (2105). Volunteers planted 800 trees at these sites. Since then, Recreation and Parks has continued to hold volunteer planting projects including the annual Earth Day with Recreation and Parks (spring) and Family Volunteer Day (fall).
Please contact Elissa Reineck if you are interested in Students Branching Out.