A garden at Fort Meade means benefits for the bay BayScape will attract wildlife, filter runoff


There's a new garden around the Burger King at Fort Meade that makes the view from the drive-through a little nicer. One day, the garden will make the Chesapeake Bay a little nicer, too.

Yesterday, about 120 volunteers loaded down with buckets and shovels converged outside the fast-food restaurant and turned two strips of dry, powdery land into a colorful and artistically designed, mulched garden.

They put in a BayScape rain garden, 35 native species of plants, grasses, shrubs and trees that will attract wildlife and filter rainwater runoff.

"I'd like to think that when people come onto Fort Meade, they'll say 'Boy, is this an island of greenery.' " Col. John D. Frketic, Fort Meade garrison commander, told the volunteers. "We're planting the garden as part of Fort Meade's commitment to restoring the environment and the Chesapeake Bay area."

Fort Meade is the first of 21 Army installations in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to plant a BayScapes garden. Because of efforts to bring the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Defense, the Army Environmental Center and local environmental groups into the project, BayScapes also will be the landscaping of the future at Fort Meade, especially along Route 175, where officials hope to present a main street look to motorists entering Odenton, the heart of new development in Anne Arundel County.

"This project is going to set the tone for the rest of development on the base," said Bill Matuszeski, director of the EPA Chesapeake Bay program office.

BayScapes was developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to encourage environmentally sound landscaping that benefits the bay and its tributaries.

Children, teens and adults filled 2,800 holes with plants, shrubs and trees on two plots a few yards from the Franklin Branch, one of two tributaries of the Little Patuxent River that run through the base.

"This is wonderful," said Melinda Yantis a home-schooler who had been teaching her three children about water pollution before she brought them to help plant. "You can just teach them so much more by doing this than sitting in the house with a book, and it's so much more meaningful. Now, when [7-year-old Joshua] walks by here, he can see what we planted and be proud."

Linda Hall, a Fort Meade resident, said, "It's something the environment needs and the community needs. When it comes down to it, it's up to us."

Pub Date: 5/21/98

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