Organization: Greater Baltimore Wilderness Coalition
Mission: To promote and facilitate a diverse, united, collaborative partnership dedicate to the restoration and preservation of a thriving, resilient and equitable green infrastructure network throughout Central MD in support of healthy ecosystems and communities.
Location: Baltimore, Maryland, Turner Station, Brooklyn y Curtis Bay.
Country: United States
Other Organizations Involved: Turner Station Conservation Teams, The Nature Conservancy, The Baltimore Tree Trust, Grow Home, Division Street Landscaping, Baltimore County
Baltimore is a post-industrial port city located in the upper Chesapeake Bay. Climate models project that coastal communities along the mid-Atlantic coast and Chesapeake Bay will see higher than average flooding/inundation impacts due to the combined impact of land subsidence, general sea-level rise, and ocean “swelling” in this part of the Atlantic. Baltimore also suffers the legacy impacts of redlining in myriad forms, one of which is significantly fewer trees and green spaces in our BIPOC communities. This lack of investment in green infrastructure in these communities is correlated with poorer air and water quality, higher rates of asthma, cardiovascular disease, and mental health issues, higher crime rates, and more.
The goal of the Witness Trees initiative is to focus on direct climate action, environmental justice capacity building, and oral history documentation to advance climate adaptation, racial equity, and community resiliency in two traditionally under-served BIPOC communities in Baltimore. The bulk of the work will be completed by local youth who will be hired and trained as Urban Tree Stewards. Corps members will also attend classes on climate change, urban ecology, environmental justice, community leadership, and communication and teamwork, all of which will be tied to the on-the-ground challenges and opportunities in their communities. Our vision is to show proof of concept for a Baltimore Climate Corps, and advance it throughout the greater Baltimore region.
- Host a series of workshops to train local youth as Urban Tree Stewards
- Educate 50 residents about the state of the environment, the impacts of environmental health on public health and prosperity, and the opportunities to make a difference
- Host a series of community tree planting events
- 400 new trees planted across two historically under-served, urban communities
- 25 youth trained as Urban Tree Stewards
- 50 residents with increased knowledge and efficacy about local and global environmental issues, and the actions that they can take to make a difference
- 2 community greening plans to guide further restoration and resiliency work
- 20 oral histories recorded from local elders telling the story of their communities, the results of which will be intertwined with the new trees