The Maryland Urban and Community Forest Committee of the Maryland Association of District Forestry Boards, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service, has awarded Harford Community College with the Gold PLANT (People Loving and Nurturing Trees) Award for 2019. It recognizes the college’s role in keeping, maintaining and preserving trees as well as its help with last year’s Arbor Day celebration.
Trees provide ecological, economic and quality of life benefits, protecting air and water quality, reducing energy costs, increasing property values and beautifying neighborhoods and highways. The Gold PLANT Award is for developmental programs that pursue activities with the intent to improve the overall health of their trees and forests.
The College’s PLANT award-worthy actions involved a collaboration across multiple divisions and programs. Under the guidance of the College’s Sustainability Committee, several employees, including Coordinator for Campus Operations Cathy Boston, Professor Tami Imbierowicz, and Dr. Tammy Biegas, serve on the campus’ tree committee. Frank Lopez, State Forester for Harford and Cecil counties, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, is the college’s forester.
The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Division was responsible for DNA barcoding, tree inventory, mapping forest stands, and measuring tree diameter. Faculty who worked on this effort included Imbierowicz, Associate Professor Jackie Madden, and Assistant Professor Andy Adams.
There was collaboration with the Behavioral and Social Sciences Division on mapping the locations of the trees. Biegas developed the final GIS map with data from her classes and with data from an HCC Foundation-funded project, along with Imbierowicz and STEM student intern Connor Auth.
The college has several ongoing efforts to protect its trees; Campus Operations is responsible for ensuring tree maintenance and plantings. They contracted with a certified arborist to treat and remove diseased trees.
Harford Community College was the host location for Harford County’s Arbor Day celebration that was held on April 19 last year. HCC’s Campus Operations worked collaboratively with Harford County Government to bring together volunteers to plant 140 trees and shrubs. Campus Operations also provides materials for annual Earth Day plantings where volunteers plant flowers and shrubs around campus. Employees involved in these efforts included Boston, Director for Campus Operations Lou Claypoole, and Maintenance Technician Theo Oti.
The environmentally friendly efforts demonstrated by HCC seem particularly relevant as the world prepares to celebrate Earth Day on April 22. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a day that inspired 20 million Americans to attend coast-to-coast rallies to protest against the deterioration of the environment. Earth Day helped launch the modern environmental movement and led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of several laws.
Harford Community College is proud to be a steward of the environment known for using sustainable practices on its campus whenever and wherever possible.