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Symposium will bring together those who seek to improve Carroll County’s watershed

Carroll County staff are planning an environmental conference this fall, focused on bringing together groups who seek to improve the county’s watershed, and volunteers who want to help them.

During a Board of County Commissioners meeting Thursday, officials approved a request from the Department of Land and Resource Management to apply for a $2,500 grant from the Giant Company 2022 Healing the Planet grant program to help fund the symposium.


According to a news release from the supermarket chain, Giant will award $300,000 to projects in areas where it operates stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. The projects must be aimed at “improving the health and quality of waterways to help protect water resources and improve the overall health of communities.”

Examples of qualifying projects include stream health and water quality monitoring activities, stormwater education initiatives, lake/pond ecology, watershed education activities, watershed landscape measures, rain gardens, streambank restoration, erosion control, rain barrels, pollution abatement and source water protection. Grants will be awarded at the $2,500, $5,000, or $10,000 funding levels; awardees will be announced in June.


The Carroll County environmental symposium will showcase organizations in the county that have a mission to improve the environment and protect Carroll’s natural resources. These groups will have tables set up to showcase their efforts in the community and provide education on their missions. It is anticipated that attendees will primarily be stewards of the environment looking for potential volunteer opportunities.

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Janet O’Meara, bureau chief of resource management for Carroll County, said the event would be held as part of the county’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination permit program, authorized by the Environmental Protection Agency. The county will be required to hold 25 educational outreach events as part of that program.

“We thought this was a great grant to set the footing and gather those in the community who are doing outreach on their own, bringing us all together to work collaboratively to achieve these goals,” O’Meara said.

Ed Singer, watershed management coordinator, said the Bureau of Land and Resource Management is always looking for ways to expand efforts to improve Carroll’s watershed.

“For example, we just recently had the Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County reach out to us because they want to do some tree planting and education in some areas,” he said. “We’re helping to coordinate locations for them to be able to do that.”

As an added draw, the symposium will engage environmental clubs from county high schools in a recyclable art contest. The winner of the contest will be determined by event attendees. Grant monies will be used to purchase giveaways and awards for the student participants in the art contest as well as giveaways to attendees. Examples of giveaways being considered include rain gauges, reusable water bottles and reusable cloth bags.