“Gonging,” Camden Yards Cleanup, and more at Baltimore Wildlife Week 2019

Earlier this month, the National Wildlife Federation successfully hosted its second annual Baltimore Wildlife Week. With a multitude of events, Wildlife Week highlighted conservation projects, public green space, and opportunities for communities to be involved with the environmental movement all across the city.  Below, we have highlighted some of these events that engaged and connected hundreds of residents with great work taking place across Baltimore:

“B’More Wild Fest & GreenScape”

For the second year in a row, NWF, in conjunction, with the Baltimore Office of Sustainability, provided a day of outdoor activities for over 100 students in South Baltimore. The second annual “B’More Wild Fest & GreenScape” took place at Middle Branch Park, just along the waters of the Patapsco River. In addition to a DJ, live animals, and interactive activities from over 15 local partners, we had the honor of hosting Baltimore’s new mayor, Jack Young. In the presence of students, partners, and press alike, mayor Young signed the “Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights,” proclaiming his commitment to ensure Baltimore’s youth have access to healthy outdoor time. It was fulfilling to bring together so many students, families, and community partners in Middle Branch Park, a vastly underutilized space in Baltimore City.

Photo: Holly Gallagher

Oriole Garden Cleanup

With the help of community volunteers and our friends at the National Aquarium, the National Wildlife Federation team spent an evening at Camden Yards for some “spring cleaning” of our 10,000 square foot Oriole habitat garden. This garden, designed by the acclaimed Claudia West, serves as a wonderful example of how native gardening can add beauty to the urban landscape. After a couple hours of weed-pulling, we celebrated by taking our volunteers to that night’s game, and we even saw an O’s victory.

Photo: Holly Gallagher

Photo: Holly Gallagher

Community Conservation Night

In an effort to connect with West Baltimore neighborhoods, our team partnered with a local urban farm, Whitelock Community Farm, to host a community conservation night focused on environmental issues specific to Baltimore City. Upwards of 40 community members joined us for community service, dinner, and an opportunity to attend an expert conservation panel. The panel included community residents, officials from the Office of Sustainability and Department of Public Works, and partners from local conservation organizations. It was rewarding to see so many local residents enjoying an evening outdoors with healthy, local food, and an opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue. Reservoir Hill is a community with a strong understanding of the connection between public green space and community health.    

Photo: Holly Gallagher
Photo: Holly Gallagher

“BMP Crawl”

With the help of Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Port Administration, the Wildlife Week team was excited to host our first ever Stormwater BMP Crawl. This event gave local conservation professionals a chance to tour various BMP installation sites across Baltimore City, learn about these projects, and to network with the site managers. Our tour included large storm water installations at MedStar Harbor Hospital, a chance to visit “Captain Trash Wheel” at Masonville Cove, and an opportunity to show off our trio of installations at Baltimore’s Green Street Academy. As with any proper “crawl” we ensured our final stop would be at a local favorite, Checkerspot Brewing Company. Fittingly enough, this local brewery is named after Maryland’s state butterfly.

Opening Weekend at Charm City Meadworks

Our team was very excited to partner with a local mead-maker called Charm City Meadworks. As advocates for pollinators, the taproom hosted an entire weekend of urban conservation themed-activities. We kicked off the weekend with a dance party (featuring our mascot, Ranger Rick). The following day included a pollinator-themed art show, activities from local conservation partners, and a conservation-themed “gong show.” Hosted by our partners at Johns Hopkins University, scientists were invited to the taproom to give short presentations about the conservation work being researched in Baltimore City. The twist: if any jargon is used, the audience rings a gong at the presenter, helping to bridge the gap between communities and the research community. A full room of community members had an excellent evening “gonging” at experts from the National Aquarium, Fish & Wildlife Service, Department of Public Works, and even National Wildlife Federation’s very own Mid-Atlantic Education Manager, Holly Gallagher!

Keep the Baltimore Wildlife Week Momentum Going

Wildlife Week may only take place once a year, but there are many steps we can take to support our wildlife and greenspace year-round. Check out our Mid-Atlantic page to see what work we are doing in Baltimore, and check out our Garden for Wildlife page to see how you can create Certified Wildlife Habitat in your own backyard. And Check-out this feature in Baltimore Magazine highlighting Baltimore Wildlife Week!

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