USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry and Research Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service and Parks & People Foundation
Bringing Forestry to the people through collaborative stewardship
Description: Revitalizing Baltimore (RB) is a national model community forestry and watershed restoration project funded by the USDA Forest Service and managed by the Parks & People Foundation in cooperation with the Maryland State Forester. The project goal is to demonstrate human and natural system connections and equip people to care for natural resources, while employing these resources to revitalize neighborhoods. The project is a partnership among seventeen organizations including the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service, Baltimore City and Baltimore County, several other non-profit organizations, three community-based watershed associations, businesses and academic institutions.
- Urban Baltimore suffers from significant property abandonment as a result of suburban sprawl.
- Apply ecosystem management principles by organizing community forestry on a watershed basis.
- Bring the regional watershed and neighborhood scales together through community stewardship actions to improve natural resources, including the urban forest.
- Establish a process for nonprofit community and governmental agency collaboration to achieve urban ecological restoration supportive of neighborhood revitalization.
- Increase urban natural resource stewardship through education, communication, and opportunities for community action.
- Sustain a community-based process supportive of institutional change aimed at better management of urban natural resources and encouraging a public commitment of financial resources.
- Improve the effectiveness of watershed-based community organizations to mobilize citizens.
Support for Community Forestry activities among RB partners and others through community organizing, technical assistance, volunteer training, and logistical support resulting over the last eight years, in helping to green 45 urban neighborhoods by planting more than 4100 street trees and 11500 riparian trees and shrubs in over 600 projects involving more than 3000 volunteers annually, and leveraging green investments to spur neighborhood revitalization.
Promote Environmental Stewardship through natural resource education training for teachers and reaching over 9000 youth in environmental education programs such as KidsGrow, Outward Bound, and Irvine’s Natural Connections, sponsored by the Baltimore City Recreation and Parks and School System, while also engaged hundreds of elementary and middle school students in neighborhood environmental stewardship activities in after school programs and summer camps.
Strengthen Forestry efforts by organizing and supporting groups in four urban regional watersheds -- Gwynns Falls, Jones Falls, Herring Run, and Baltimore Harbor. Watershed-based community groups organized street, riparian and park forestry projects, established a city sewage task force, identified restoration priorities through community workshops, involved over 13,000 people in special festivals, conducted educational outreach and training, and supported community participation in decision making, including organizing many regional forums and workshops.
Provide Resource Information through community information workshops and developing the Gwynns Falls Watershed Ecological Resource Atlas (www.parksandpeople.org). Preparing Urban Watershed Forest Management Plans by identifying potential areas for targeting aforestation projects. Participated in a community master plan for Jones Falls valley ecological restoration and neighborhood revitalization. Prepared the RB case study and presented the project’s experience at several national conferences. Strengthened research links to the USFS and Baltimore Ecosystem Study by developing neighborhood field research and educational research stations.
- Strengthen existing regional and neighborhood partnerships and coalitions and secure a cooperative regional watershed forestry restoration research and demonstration agreement and program.
- Expand the variety of organizations (i.e., businesses and development corporations) engaged in community green and urban forestry activities.
- Relate urban forestry to other urban environmental issues such as brownfields, water and air quality, energy conservation, habitat conservation, and urban green infrastructure as part of smart growth policies.
- Better use Web technology to connect citizens and organizations and to facilitate partnership development, communications, and sharing of technical resources.
- Develop a communications campaign to confront “crime and grime” by “cleaning and greening” urban neighborhoods, strengthen stewardship education programs, and continue to reach out to minority communities.
- Engage youth leaders as part of innovative decision-making methods.
- Bring together Baltimore’s diverse environmental education activities into a comprehensive and complimentary strategy.
- Continue to help watershed associations develop a strong community base of interest and become self-sufficient and further organize in the Baltimore Harbor watershed.
- Use the Urban Watershed Forest Management Plan to guide investment of restoration resources to improve the state of the social and ecological environments and encourage development of a comprehensive greenspace plan, policies and programs city-wide and watershed-wide.
- Gain greater insight regarding effective program implementation by further integrating together Revitalizing Baltimore’s demonstration projects with USFS and BES ecological research activities to build a comprehensive community forestry strategy and training capacity.