Students Branching Out

Stu­dents Branch­ing Out engages Howard County stu­dents in local tree plant­ing efforts. Stu­dents par­tic­ipate in tree plant­ing vol­un­teer days and field trips, plant trees on school prop­erty, and pro­mote exist­ing County tree plant­ing pro­grams. Over 16,000 trees have been planted so far!

Stu­dents Branch­ing Out was funded by Mary­land DNR’s Chesa­peake and Coastal Bays pro­gram with sup­port from Howard County Gov­ern­ment. Howard County Recre­ation and Parks orga­nized 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 are included in the video):


Here is DNR’s video about the statewide project:


School Prop­er­ties

Stu­dents Branch­ing Out also pro­vides tree plant­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties on school prop­er­ties. So far, about 1400 stu­dents have planted trees! 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) – 50 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.

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.

Get Involved

Please con­tact Elissa Rei­neck if you are inter­ested in Stu­dents Branch­ing Out.