Pete and Barb Pecoraro sat on their front porch Saturday, enjoying the day and watching as a small army of volunteers planted trees along Debaugh Avenue in West Towson.
Two of the trees would be planted on the couple's property. They paid $75 apiece for a dogwood on the side of the house and a bald cypress in the backyard, both native to Maryland.
"That's very important," Pete Pecoraro said. And he said the cypress will help dry up standing water in the spacious yard, which is already home to a mature doludgwood and a beechwood tree with a canopy so full and wide, "it looks like an umbrella," he said.
Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, State Del. Steve Lafferty, members of the West Towson Community Association, and volunteers from AmeriCorps, Goucher College and Towson University, were among several dozen volunteers who helped plant 49 trees, ranging from American elms and black gum to scarlet and willow oak, on selected streets, in an effort led by Blue Water Baltimore.
Other streets where trees were planted included Park Avenue, Highland Avenue, Piccadilly Road, Trafalgar Road, and Alabama Road and Court
"It beautifies communities, improves properties and helps the environment, and quite frankly, it also shows the strength of this neighborhood association," Marks said as he and Johna Rufio, of the association's greening committee, planted a red maple tree on Park Avenue. It took them about 45 minutes to dig a hole, dig up roots, add mulch and tie the slender sapling between two wooden posts.
"It's like training wheels so it doesn't blow and stays straight," said Darin Crew, senior forestry manager for Blue Water Baltimore.
Digging was hard work on a chilly morning.
"We had a lot of roots," Rufio said.
"But the soil is pretty good," Marks said.
The Pecoraros said they were impressed that Blue Water Baltimore came to Debaugh Avenue about a month ago, to do a site study and call Miss Utility Maryland to avoid damaging utilities.
On Saturday, volunteers came from as far away as Denver, Colo., which is where Lizabeth Rodriguez is from.
"It's really great to see people helping out their communities," said Rodriguez, 23, who is part of a 12-member AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corp.) team sponsored by Blue Water Baltimore.
Goucher sophomores Deanna Habegger, of Alexandria, Va., and Kyanna Cadwallader, of Gainesville, Fla., helped plant trees and dig up invasive vines as part of a Psychology of Environmental Problems class. Joining them was freshman Leah Ruggiere, of Taiwan, who is not in the class.
"I'm doing it for fun," she said. "It makes me feel good."
For the Pecoraros, it was fun to watch.
"You get to pick where you want to put your tree," Pete Pecoraro said.
And his wife said the beauty is that each tree is planted for them.
"All we have to do is keep it going and make sure it doesn't die."