On Saturday, April 9th, Howard County celebrated its 15th Annual GreenFest at Howard Community College.
GreenFest is Howard County’s largest celebration of Earth Day. The event aims to connect residents with the resources that local businesses, non-profits, and government provide to help residents be stewards of the environment.
“GreenFest is an opportunity for our community to come together, and be empowered to protect our environment, and support a sustainable future for our planet. There are so many residents, businesses and organizations here in Howard County and our region who are innovating, advocating and paving the way for the critical changes necessary to preserve our world,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball.
During the event, two Green Awards were presented by the County’s Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Environmental Services. Winners of the Business Recycling and Waste Reduction award include Upcycled, Indigo Ink Digital Printing, and Repaint USA, and winners of the Green Community Leadership Award include Emerson Community Association, Wilde Lake CARES, Friends of the Patapsco Valley State Park, and VolunTeens.
The County Executive also presented certificates to the Griffith Family for their extensive litter cleanups and to the Department of Recreation and Parks for their outstanding tree programs.
Inside Howard Community College’s Burrill Galleria there were various vendors and info tables for local non-profits.
“GreenFest is a great opportunity to learn about the amazing sustainability efforts undertaken by Howard County government, local non-profits, and businesses,” said Joshua Feldmark, Howard County Office of Community Sustainability Director.
There was a Student Light Bulb exchange held by the Howard County Conservancy’s Youth Climate Change Institute. The students, along with Avery Farrel (OCS’ Chesapeake Conservation Corps intern and the group’s mentor), distributed 504 LED bulbs and collected 169 old and inefficient bulbs.
There was also a Wildlife Room featuring the Mid-Atlantic Turtle and Tortoise Society, Inc. and Echoes Of Nature and showcasing a mix of live reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals. Finally, the Repair Cafe helped 30 residents fix broken items including a vacuum cleaner, heater, sewing machine, food processor, leaf blower, crockpot, and four lamps.
Outside in the parking lot visitors could find additional info tables and vendors as well as Friends of the Patapsco Valley State Park’s Mobile Visitor Center. Six local plant vendors, farms, and nurseries sold a variety of native plants at the Native Plant Sale, 50 rain barrels and 50 compost bins were given away to residents and 20,000 lbs of documents were shredded.
While not a part of the GreenFest event, the first annual Trees for Bees giveaway was also held at Howard Community College on April 9th. The goal of the giveaway was to plant native species that support pollinators and fight climate change.
The 1000 trees distributed included Red Maple, Red Bud, Serviceberry, American Plum and Silky Willow. The giveaway also included shrubs such as New Jersey Tea, Sweet Pepperbush and Silky Dogwood.
Tree reservations opened for non-profits in the Watershed Partnership Program on March 15th and opened for residents on the 21st. The giveaway was conducted and promoted through the Howard County Office of Community Sustainability and Howard County Bee City.
Check out photos from the GreenFest here
and a quick recap video reel here.