Our Watershed Stewards are hard at work to improve the quality of their local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. Click on the profiles below to meet some of our Stewards and learn about the amazing work that they have achieved!
MEET OUR STEWARDS
Meet our Featured Stewards in 2023
Harford County WSA Rain Garden
Featured WSA Project – Harford County
A Belated “Job Well Done!”
It was a warm Saturday morning last April 19 when Class 22-03 from the Harford Streams Watershed Stewards Academy gathered to construct their long-awaited class project; a rain garden at the Visitor Center at Mariner Point Park in Joppatowne. After several site visits, homework assignments, and discussions about what to do, this popular site was selected for a rain garden. Among the criteria was the fact that the rain garden would treat impervious surface before entering the lower Gunpowder River, its popularity as a walking park and boat ramp meant reaching visitors could easily be accomplished, and most importantly was a willing landowner interested in the educational potential of just such a practice, namely Harford County Parks and Recreation Department.
Class 22-03 was one that started under the heavy veil of Covid-19, but despite all the complications and concerns, they persevered with the classes on soils, BMPs, and site assessments, as well as a site visit in November of 2021 to look at site conditions like slope, sunlight, existing drainage patterns, and the opportunities to install a BMP. The class perc’d, measured, discussed, measured again, and ultimately narrowed down the scope and scale of the project; a rain garden it would be! And having visited Kollar’s Nursery just a few weeks before, gave the class an opportunity to put their new-found native plant moxie to work identifying desirable but appropriate plant species for their project.
Members of the class and a handful of dedicated volunteers showed up to help construct the rain garden that would capture and treat rooftop runoff and serve as an educational feature at the park. In the morning, sod was stripped, downspouts extended while digging continued. And then after a quick lunchbreak, mulch was applied and plants were given a new home with a job to do; soak up nutrients and make homes for pollinators.
Meet our Featured Stewards in 2022
Linda Gaydos, Featured Watershed Steward of Cecil County
Linda Gaydos, Featured Watershed Steward of Cecil County
Boating in the upper Chesapeake Bay gave Linda Gaydos a deep appreciation for clean water and healthy ecosystems. Once she retired, Linda decided that rather than learn about bay-related issues and water quality from magazines and email alerts, she wanted to learn more about what she could do in and around her community to improve the Bay. The ‘hands-on’ aspects of the Watershed Stewards Academy program appealed to her, so Linda enrolled in the Cecil County WSA program. She graduated from the most recent Cecil County Watershed Stewards Academy class, one that was interrupted by the onset of COVID-19.
Despite the limitations on in-person classes and activities, Linda and her classmates persevered and finally made it through the program. Now, wearing three hats (Master Watershed Steward, Maryland Tree Steward, and volunteer with a watershed group), she finds herself providing assistance to residents, churches, and local businesses. And thanks to skills she learned as part of her Master Watershed Steward training, Linda enjoys helping people identify solutions, especially when there’s a challenge.
Whether it’s trying to help people understand why runoff from sidewalks and driveways needs to be treated or helping to plant trees to enhance and increase the tree canopy, Linda enjoys helping people learn about the importance of clean water and what they can do on their own property and in their communities to help make a difference.
One of the most important things Linda learned through WSA is that our watershed exists as a delicate synergy between land and water - rain connects land to streams, and it’s our duty to ensure it is a healthy environment. According to Linda, the Chinese proverb about planting trees is applicable in all that we do, and to paraphrase that into action, “The best time to improve our watershed was 20 years ago; the second best time is now.”
Anne Arundel County - Ayia Lindquist
Featured Watershed Steward of Anne Arundel County - October 2022
Steward, Ayia Lindquist of the Anne Arundel WSA has been doing the ‘ground work’ for a native plants sensory garden at the Brooklyn Park Library. With environmental justice close to her heart, she knew she wanted to contribute by building green-spaces in underserved communities. She also has plans for the garden to be ‘interpretive’, open to include Spanish language on the signage. After consulting with AA WSA, she learned there was a need at Brooklyn Park Library and met with the library manager to see if she could meet their needs.
Ayia applied for the Community Engagement and Restoration Grant from CBT with the help of AA WSA. There were restrictions on who can apply but that did not deter her. Hoping to do more projects like this, she started her own non-profit, “Gardens of Connections’ and was awarded the grant. After collaborating with Juliet K. Dieguez of The Wild Child, a sensory garden guru, she began to select pollinator friendly natives paying special attention to the bloom calendar. She ordered 18 plant varieties, about 4 of each, for the approximate 140 sq. ft. site to be planted at the end of October. Stay tuned for her update once the project is complete!
Calvert County Tiered Garden Project
Featured Watershed Stewards of Calvert County - September 2022
WSA Candidates in Training
Karen Anderson, Master Naturalist, Master Gardener
Melanie Crowder, Master Gardener
The Calvert County Master Gardeners maintain a native plant demonstration garden at the County Extension Office. This garden was created at the request of the County, with the support the Chesapeake Land Trust Grant funding.
Recently there have been significant erosion and flooding issues in the back portion of the building due to stormwater from three levels of parking lots overflowing the rock swale and drainage system. Contributing to the stormwater issues was years of cumulative debris as well as large water volumes during more frequent storms.
Karen Anderson and Melanie Crowder developed plans for a Tiered Garden to be constructed on the slope as a Capstone project for the Watershed Steward Academy. The first step was to clean the rock swale which was accomplished with the assistance of a local Scout Troop and the Master Gardeners. The rocks were also repositioned to create small berms to slow the water flow.
The next step was outlining a draft garden design, including dimensions, construction supplies and plant lists. From there a budget was created, and we applied for funding sources. We were able to obtain a grant from the Calvert Garden Club with additional money from the Master Gardener budget. The plants were selected for full sun and to tolerate both wet and dry soil conditions. The garden is not watered, and can be dry at times.
In the spring of 2022, the garden was created with the assistance of Master Gardener and Master Naturalist volunteers. This included the creation of four tiers with cement blocks and back filling it with soil and leaf grow. We also added an overflow drain in the top tier, to prevent a possible collapse during heavy downpours. Karen and Melanie presented an educational session on the “Creation of a Tiered Garden” at the Master Gardener Garden Smarter program in conjunction with the Calvert Library.
We are adding some additional plants this fall, to fill in open spaces in the garden. There continues to be stormwater issues on the slope, along side the tiered garden due to rainwater coming off the gutter on the side corner of the building. We are working with the County on proposed solutions including a rain barrel, French drain or dry creek bed. Future plans for the garden include educational tours, signage, and brochures.
Howard County Glenmont Clean Stream Project
Featured Watershed Stewards of Howard County - August 2022
The Glenmont Clean Stream Project in Howard County focuses on runoff pollution in a local neighborhood stream and unnamed tributary to the Little Patuxent River. The project is led by WSA Stewards Wendy Hall, Laurie Donnelly, and Anson Justi and was inspired by all the dogs living in the neighborhood – were they a source of pollution? Were other sources important? And importantly, what could the neighborhood do about them?
In December of 2021, the team began by conducting a Neighborhood Source Assessment to see if and how their community can improve its practices to be more environmentally conscious, particularly with respect to reducing sources of runoff pollution. They found lots of well-maintained gardens and lawns as well as quite a few dogs, along with some of their waste. The team noticed some room for improvement by implementing rain barrels to conserve water, better pet waste clean-up, and rain gardens to mitigate pollution from running off into the streams when it rains.
They have established four sites along the stream that they monitor, roughly once a month and periodically after heavy rains, to sample for phosphates, nitrites, and E. coli bacteria because these are the three most common measurement criteria indicating pet waste or fertilizer pollutants in the water. Since heavy rains flush these pollutants into the streams, bacteria levels often spike a day or two later. Macro-invertebrate population monitoring is another way of measuring water quality. The plan is to monitor these populations twice, once in May and once in August. For a more detailed understanding of the sampling methodology and the equipment used, visit their Sampling Methodology Link.
In early May of 2022, the team presented their project at the annual Glenmont HOA meeting. Later that month, they hosted a sidewalk tabling event in which they engaged neighbors out walking, presented the watershed model and gave away relevant literature and dog waste clean-up tools (poop bags).
In June, the Stewards held a community event where they taught local residents about stormwater pollutant effects and showed them how to measure these pollutants in their backyard. Quite a few neighborhood children showed up and had a great time in the field! The WSA team even had help from a neighbor and environmental educator at the local high school, Shari Rosenberg.
In addition, Wendy, Laurie and Anson are conducting two community surveys to explore Glenmont’s attitudes toward and awareness of stormwater pollution and to determine if there are actions that can be taken as a community to improve it. The first survey ran in March with the second planned for August to see if the community’s attitudes have changed over the course of the project.
There is always room for improvement in our understanding of ecosystem impacts within our community and it’s still too early in their project to interpret the stream pollution and survey data, but you can check back later if you’d like to see the data for yourself! For now, all their collected data are still in a living document with a final report coming later this Fall.
Peggy Hartman, Robin Madel and Luke Johnson
Featured Watershed Stewards of Calvert County - March 2022
A group of Calvert County Stewards in North Beach, MD is working to transform a turf area that is currently a problem area into a rain garden that solves stormwater flooding from the parking lot, removes pollutants from that stormwater before it enters the adjacent wetland, and educates folks visiting the local Wetland Overlook Park.
Peggy Hartman, Robin Madel, and Luke Johnson are Stewards from the inaugural hybrid Calvert County WSA class that started in October 2020. They worked with the Town of North Beach to submit a Chesapeake Bay Trust Community Engagement mini-grant to install the project. The 200 sq ft rain garden will enhance the beauty of Wetlands Overlook Park, which will increase interest in, and draw visitors to the site, hopefully ensuring the continued viability of the site as an educational resource for the public.
Community outreach for this project will include rain barrel and rain garden workshops for residents, a public education campaign (see “Everyday Ways That You Can Help” below), and a ribbon cutting event for the rain garden after installation of the plants and signage. This project has received support from the Town of North Beach Department of Public Works, and North Beach Stormwater and Flood Mitigation Action Committee. The Community Conservation Department plans to offer tours of the site to local schools and youth groups. We look forward to continuing to work with this great group of Stewards and seeing this project installed in the spring!
Harford County Master Watershed Stewards
Featured Watershed Stewards of Harford County - January 2022
Master Watershed Stewards Class of 2020 Rain Garden Installation
With the help of community volunteers, and current & former Stewards, the Class of 2020 completed their class project, a raingarden installation located at the Churchville Rec Center. Native plants and grasses from Kollar Nursery were used including Cardinal flower, Woolgrass, Northern Blue Flag, and Shamrock Inkberry to name a few. This rain garden will collect stormwater runoff from the roof of the picnic pavilion and help prevent sediment and other pollutants from making their way into the soil among many other benefits.
Meet our Featured Stewards in 2021
Featured Watershed Steward - October 2021
A Steward with Too Many Hats! Mark Dobbins resides in the Town of North East and wears more hats then he can keep count of. As the Business Officer for the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment at the Univ. of Delaware, he is responsible for finance, budget and human resources. Mark also balances his time as chair of the Town’s Planning Commission, is a member of the Local Government Advisory Committee to the Chesapeake Bay Program, is President of the Elk and North East River Watershed Association, and is a Master Watershed Steward with the Cecil County WSA.
As part of their WSA class, Mark and fellow Steward Candidate Jim Wolford undertook a unique capstone project to improve the stormwater at the North East Town Hall parking lot by constructing a bioretention facility where an existing landscaped island was directing runoff towards Town Hall rather than allowing runoff to reach an existing storm drain inlet. Due to the scope of the project, they enlisted the assistance of an engineer with the local Consortium of Support Professionals (CSP) to aid in the final design. They were able to secure a Chesapeake Bay Trust grant for materials and worked with the town to provide equipment and a local landscape architect to develop the planting plan.
When we were able to pin Mark down between changing hats, we ran a few questions past him to get a better sense of what makes Mark tick:
- Why did you decide to go through the Cecil County WSA program?
I wanted to learn more about what skills I could gain personally to take action to improve the Bay. The WSA provided a basis for learning both why and how to do projects that collectively can have a major impact on improving the health of the Bay.
- Why is water quality important to you?
I live on the North East River and kayak regularly throughout the upper Bay. I can see up close the impact of storm water runoff in the debris and loss of clarity in the rivers and streams following any rain event, especially major storms.
- Did going through WSA have anything to do with you helping to form a watershed association?
WSA was critical in the development of ENERWA. I started WSA in September 2014 and at the same time was working with a dedicated group of people to form a watershed association for the North East and Elk Rivers. What I learned in WSA gave me skill set and knowledge base that I did not have and directly informed the focus and goals we developed for ENERWA to engage in water quality sampling, in-ground projects and public education and outreach.
- What is the biggest lesson you learned being involved with WSA that you would share with others?
PARTNERSHIPS!! We learned this immediately with our capstone project that we could not have done on our own. We found numerous willing partners that had skills we just did not have. We benefited from their skills and enthusiasm, got the project completed successfully, had fun and learned a lot all at the same time. This has been true for every project we have done since!
Susan Tucker, Ana Maria Layton, Kate Reilly, Mandy Elder and Zsuzsanna Cooke
Featured Watershed Stewards - September 2021
Howard County WSA Stewards, Susan Tucker, Ana Maria Layton, Kate Reilly, Mandy Elder and Zsuzsanna Cooke worked this past year to improve the health and vitality of the riparian buffer along a portion of an eroded stream in Columbia. The project aims to slow stormwater erosion, increase water absorption and filtration, and enhance pollinator and wildlife value. Work focuses on stream bank stabilization, tree canopy expansion, and riparian buffer enhancement. The targeted stream runs through both Columbia Association open space and private properties, requiring support from CA and individual homeowners.
During the first phase of the project, the team cleared the area of trash, invasive vines and shrubs to make room for a large native planting. They planted the donations that they received of 100 bare root saplings and hundreds of native floodplain perennials. The team also applied for the Howard County Plastics Reduction and Environmental Protection Grant, awarded to them this summer and enabling the team to continue to a second phase of the project.
This fall and spring, they will install an additional 40 larger trees, 110 shrubs and perennials, and 500 live stakes. The team is conducting homeowner outreach and education via face-to-face conversations, emails, and virtual meetings regarding the importance of the riparian buffer and the ecological services it provides, and is connecting homeowners to additional local resources.
Featured Watershed Steward - August 2021
University of Maryland Extension is excited to be partnering with Liz Curtz on a “Front Yard” project at the new Leonardtown Library/Garvey Senior Activity Center. Liz is a (Class 1) steward with St. Mary’s County WSA and she founded Friends of St Clements Bay (FSCB) watershed association as part of her capstone project efforts. Since 2016, she and FSCB volunteers have been strong supporters of numerous stormwater, native plant, septic, and oyster restoration projects. The most recent of which involves converting this large expanse of turf grass into a sustainable outdoor activity space that celebrates native plants and trees. FSCB has received a “Clean Up, Green Up” grant from the Keep Maryland Beautiful program, and additional funding support from the Leonardtown Library Council, and St. Mary’s County Forestry Council Board. Several virtual community meetings were held in May to gather citizen input on desired uses for the space. A landscape designer has taken the main themes from those meetings and created a garden design that will be discussed at a community meeting in August. Educational webinars on residential stormwater concerns and benefits/uses of native plants and trees will be help in the fall. As well as several site preparation and planting events. Signage will also be installed to provide water-friendly landscaping tips for homeowners' own front yards. We look forward to continuing to support Liz’s efforts on this project and seeing a beautiful community space that supports our local ecosystem come to life.
Corrine Irwin and Claire Adrian-Tucci
Featured Project - May 2021
AWS awarded a Watershed Steward Academy grant to two alumni, Claire Adrian-Tucci and Corinne Irwin, to plant a demonstration native plant/pollinator garden in The Friends of Titanic Memorial Park, a National Park on the Southwest Waterfront in DC. The planting event was held on April 17, 2021.
Titanic Memorial Park has a culturally significant, mid-century modern landscape designed by Sasaki and Associates. The Friends of Titanic Memorial Park worked with landscape architects and cultural resources experts at the National Park Service to design a garden restoration with plantings that both align with the historic landscape design, and substitute native plants to improve pollinator habitat. Claire and Corinne, both members of the Friends board, are excited to both improve the park and the health of the watershed.
Featured Project - April 2021
Kate Vogel’s Environmental Literacy Capstone Project
In early March, Anne Arundel WSA Steward Candidate Kate Vogel met with Crofton Library's Nature Explorers' Club, and hosted a program she designed called "What is a Watershed?"
After teaching to eight intrepid Nature Explorers about healthy watersheds and the differences between pervious and impervious surfaces, Kate had them do a fun activity where they created their own mini watersheds. Sponges and newspaper stood in for pervious (and much less pervious!) surfaces, while plastic trays, cups, and bowls represented impervious surfaces. The kids poured colored water on their watershed creations, and got to see where the water soaked in and when it did not.
Fellow Steward, Martha Sykora, also a librarian at the Crofton Branch, helped connect Kate with the Club and provided invaluable assistance on the day of the project.
This was the first in-person event for the Nature Explorers' Club since last year and was the first WSA Capstone Project of 2021! Kate has already been in touch with the newly reopened Busch Annapolis Library on West Street, and will be hosting a virtual version of “What is a Watershed?” as part of their summer programming.
Congratulations Kate and thank you Martha!
Katrina Golladay and Jay Resnick
Featured Watershed Steward - January 2021
Katrina Golladay and Jay Resnick recently graduated from Anne Arundel WSA’s 12th certification course. For their capstone project they teamed up and made double the impact at a local library. The Eastport-Annapolis Neck Branch Library had a bioretention on site that was installed in 2007 and had since been abandoned. Katrina took on clearing out the abundance of invasive species and litter and replanting it with native plants. Jay organized the trees, shrubs, and rain barrels needed to help with the significant amount of stormwater runoff on the surrounding property. Together, they coordinated site visits, got permission from various county departments, submitted an application for funding, engaged with the community, and planned a successful and COVID-safe installation day with volunteers!
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Katrina and Jay, the library property is now free of 4,800 square feet of invasives and instead home to 40 native trees and shrubs, 180 native perennials and ground covers, and will soon house 3 rain barrels!
Now that Katrina and Jay are officially Watershed Stewards, they will continue to have a big impact on their communities! Jay has already set up a “Scoop the Poop” sign and bag dispenser. Katrina looks forward to engaging and educating community members about maintenance of the library's bioretention.
Meet our Featured Stewards in 2020
Mary Beth O’Bryan
Featured Watershed Steward - December 2020
Mary Beth O’Bryan is a member of the Harford Watershed Stewards Academy’s second class. Mary Beth currently works in administration for Ecotone, Inc, a design-build ecological restoration company headquartered in Forest Hill, MD. She joined the WSA in part to better understand and be able to explain in simple terms to other residents the restoration work that Ecotone does. Mary Beth is most interested in connecting community HOA’s, and landowners to the resources they need to address stormwater management issues. She is also passionate about leading community efforts for trash cleanup along the Ma & Pa trail and encouraging citizens to get involved in community projects.
Although the completion of the second class project was interrupted by COVID restrictions, Mary Beth has started contributing to the Harford WSA by creating and Harford County Watershed Stewards Academy Facebook page. The page helps stewards to connect as they pursue projects, helps advertise the program to the public, and showcases the type of work that stewards do. As of November 24, 2020 the page has 74 followers.
Featured Watershed Steward - November 2020
Kim Righi of Cecil County WSA is a native to the Eastern Shore, currently living along the Sassafras River. She was the Executive Director of the Sassafras River Association until they merged with the Chester and Mid-Shore Riverkeeper organizations in 2018, forming ShoreRivers, where she is now Restoration Manager.
Kim feels strongly in the efforts of WSA and enjoys the opportunities she finds to spread the word. She also believes that water quality starts in our own backyards and that it is up to us to educate ourselves. She, along with a few neighbors, have been working one-yard-at-a-time, as called upon, to assist and educate their neighbors on the water quality benefits of native plants and trees, forest buffers, and soil testing to minimize overuse of fertilizers.
Featured Master Watershed Steward - September 2020
Kellie Walsh joined the inaugural class of St. Mary’s County Watershed Stewards Academy, with goal of becoming a knowledgeable messenger for her community and to help take a proactive approach to some of the land use changes that she saw negatively impacting a local creek. Her capstone project had two main components: a rain garden installation and behavior change campaign in her neighborhood. Kellie shared witty “Watershed Wisdom – Did you know?” tips and information on a variety of topics including: septic system management, lawn care practices for healthy waterways, pet waste, and even oysters! Her rain garden boasts a variety of woodland native plants, and she invited neighbors to “garden parties”, so that they could experience the process from planning to installation. We greatly enjoyed Kellie’s creativity and passion during the course, and look forward to working with her on future projects!
Featured Master Watershed Steward - August 2020
Julie Potyraj joined the National Capital Region WSA in the spring of 2019 and is also a Master Naturalist through AWS. She and several other WSA graduates worked with Living Classrooms to develop a picnic area on Kingman Island where people could enjoy the river and learn more about the local ecosystems. Leading approx. 50 volunteers over several days of work, they were able to remove invasive honeysuckle plants and tree stumps, breaking down old trees with a wood chipper, and clearing a view to the river. However, with the winter weather and then the pandemic, we are hoping to finish the project in the coming months so that it can be a socially-distancing friendly recreation area.
Since COVID-19 put a damper on the volunteer projects she was planning to work on (adopting a stream through the Alice Ferguson Foundation, and leading an Earth Day clean up event through AWS), Julie was eager to stay involved. She began picking up trash around her neighborhood, later posting on Nextdoor and Twitter to see if her neighbors in nearby communities were interested in joining in. The first community clean up event had just one other person, the second had 8 and the third event had 7 volunteers. Between the three events, they were able to clean up their neighborhood and pick up about 75 bags of trash…that won't end up in the river!
Featured Master Watershed Steward - July 2020
Barbara Schmeckpeper became interested in stormwater runoff during her time volunteering as an outdoor environmental educator at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center. After giving her first lecture there in 2005, Barb knew her goal was to eventually bring stormwater education to her home county. She later became a Master Gardener and helped form a stormwater sub-committee of the Bay-Wise program. After graduating in 2011 from the Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards Academy, she brought that knowledge back to Howard County and hosted her first WSA class there in 2012.
Barb has enjoyed many challenges and accomplishments through the years, from educating others about the environmental impact of stormwater runoff and management to installing rain gardens and conservation landscapes. She is most proud of assisting in the WSA partnership between the Howard County Office of Community Sustainability and the University of Maryland Extension.
Featured Master Watershed Steward - March 2020
Lindsay Tempinson is a member of the inaugural class of St. Mary’s County Watershed Stewards Academy. She works as a contractor at NAS Patuxent River to assist with the coordination of easements and funding within the Department of Defenses’ Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program. Lindsay sees the WSA program as a way to stay involved with multiple watershed and school groups in St. Mary’s, and have a positive impact in her community.
She has participated in cleanup events, educational booths at community-wide events, and taught high schoolers about rain gardens and site design. Lindsay is currently serving on the Board of Friends of St Clements Bay, a new local watershed group. St. Mary’s County WSA looks forward to working with Lindsay on future projects!
Featured Master Watershed Steward - January 2020
Carla Ellern participated in the National Capital Region's WSA in 2013. As a landscape architect, she was excited to learn about stormwater management and the many people in our community working to safeguard our environment.
Once WSA got her activism juices flowing, Carla developed a capstone project that combined a rain garden, infiltration planter, and permeable pavers into a demonstration garden at her synagogue, Tifereth Israel Congregation in Washington, DC. With a grant from the District Department of the Environment, Carla used the demonstration garden to educate multiple local communities of faith about practical and affordable strategies to combat runoff pollution through sustainable landscape practices at both community institutions and members’ homes. The demonstration garden won a 2015 BUBBA award in the Best Ultra-Urban BMP category. Carla has continued to provide care for the site since the installation.
Inspired by her WSA experience, Carla moved to the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection. working as a RainScapes Planner. After several years in government, Carla returned to private practice as a landscape architect, where she uses native plants and stormwater infiltration to develop landscapes that are both beautiful and environmentally sustainable.
Meet our Featured Stewards in 2019
Featured Master Watershed Steward - November 2019
Jim Cimaglio, an environmental engineer for over 40 years, had spent his career covering stormwater permitting and assessments of industrial sites, among other things. Shortly after retirement, Jim took the Master Gardener course, which led him to learn about the Watershed Stewards Academy where he quickly became part of Howard County WSA’s Class 3. As a Steward, Jim found conducting residential site assessments for stormwater solutions a natural fit given his past life.
For the past few years, Jim has taken on the additional responsibility of helping to coordinate the site assessments. He connects the 50 or so requests that come into the Howard County WSA annually to Stewards able to conduct an assessment. Jim then reviews draft reports from the site assessments along with a few other experienced Stewards for quality control before it is shared with the homeowners. Jim enjoys talking to homeowners about the stormwater issues they are experiencing. Whether they already had an idea of what they wanted to do and wanted a second opinion, or they had no idea of how to approach their issue, the homeowners are appreciative of the Stewards’ efforts.
Featured Master Watershed Steward - October 2019
As a Master Watershed Steward in the inaugural Harford County WSA class, Stephanie Noye worked in partnership with fellow Stewards, Megan Baldowski and Sarah Shpak, on a capstone project of a pollinator garden/conservation landscaping and rain barrel project in Havre de Grace, MD. The project, funded by a Chesapeake Bay Trust Grant, is located near a historic building in the city’s downtown. Given the garden’s location and high visibility, the Stewards have added signage to allow residents and visitors to learn about the water quality and ecological benefits of the garden.
Stephanie currently works as a stormwater management and reporting coordinator for Havre de Grace. The projects she is involved with are beneficial to the waters of Harford County, and demonstrate the natural beauty that is revealed when a restoration project comes together. Even as Stephanie thinks about retirement she plans to remain active as a Steward, spurring interest in others in activities and projects that will make a difference in the area. Mentoring and getting her hands dirty at the same time is enough to make Stephanie smile.
Featured Master Watershed Steward - September 2019
Molly LaChapelle became an Anne Arundel Master Watershed Steward because she had witnessed the degradation of Cattail Creek in her community and the Berrywood Community Association was searching for help to “fix” the creek. Improving the waterways is important to Molly. When her family moved to Berrywood years ago, her sons fished, explored for frogs, walked the shallow water for soft crabs, watched the water ‘dance’ during early spring yellow perch run to spawn upstream. The water used to be clear in the winter as soft bottom sediment would drop out before the tidal area near their house. That no longer occurs due to upstream construction and stormwater runoff. Molly wanted her grandchildren to enjoy the water their fathers experienced.
In joining Class 7, Molly’s focus was to help restore Cattail Creek. Her capstone project was to write the application for a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust for design of a restoration plan. The WSA course prepared Molly to lead the Berrywood project by exposing her to all the resources available in the community to Stewards and communities for funding and project assistance. The course also introduced her to environmental techniques as well as project planning. The restoration of Cattail Creek in Berrywood has now been successfully completed through the hard work of many partners and local community leaders like Molly. Her advice to others is to build the project on a strong foundation of support with the stakeholders, and to be committed to stay the course because a project may take longer to accomplish than projected.
Featured Master Watershed Steward - August 2019
Since becoming a Master Watershed Steward, Janine Antoshak has played an integral part in achieving the designation of Sustainable Communities for Charlestown. Janine became a Cecil County Steward in 2017 and has taken on a number of projects since then. For her capstone project, Janine partnered with a fellow class member, John Gonzalez, to install a rain garden at Charlestown Elementary School. The rain garden alleviated a flooding issue on a nearby playground area that often disrupted recess activities for the students. Janine and John enlisted help from the students to not only help with the selection of the native plants but also with the planting of the garden itself.
The following year, Janine secured a $3,000 Keep Maryland Beautiful Grant that assisted with the installation of a native plant demonstration garden at Avalon Park, the capstone project for participants from the third class of the Cecil WSA. Janine also chairs the Town’s Green Team, made up of residents, community members, and educators from the Charlestown Elementary School. Through her leadership, several education events for the community have been created such as the Bay-Wise Review & Historic Highlight Tour and the Charlestown Elementary School STEAM/Green Fair, as well as having the Town host the annual Cecil County Wade In for 2017 and 2019.
Featured Master Watershed Steward - May 2019
Environmental Education has always been a major part of Bob Keddell’s 40+ year education career. Becoming an Anne Arundel Master Watershed Steward was an opportunity to extend and improve his career emphasis. Bob chose to focus on environmental literacy as a Steward because he is an educator first and foremost. His career spans opportunities to work with thousands of “at risk” or kids who need to get outdoors to feel whole. When working with youth, water is magic whether it is in the great outdoors or with an aquarium in a school.
Bob sees there being two parts to environmental literacy, 1) an ability to understand and appreciate ecosystems and, 2) an ability to act upon that knowledge to maintain all that one learns through civic engagement. To create those opportunities for youth, he runs PROJECT INTERGROW to bring environmental education in meaningful hands-on ways to minority populations in Inner Annapolis, runs community youth workshops, and much more. Bob shares his skills further by also teaching Stewards-in-training in Anne Arundel WSA’s Environmental Literacy track.
Edited with permission from interview at http://aawsa.org/blog/2018/10/4/steward-spotlight-bob-keddell
Featured Master Watershed Steward - July 2019
Bob Lewis joined the inaugural class of St. Mary’s County Watershed Stewards Academy, with many years of experience in environmental management and community engagement. He saw the WSA program as a way to build connections with local organizations and other community members interested in clean water, clean community efforts. His capstone project focused on educating a local high school class on water quality benefits of stormwater management, and then installing a rain garden at a local homeowner’s property. When Bob isn’t installing rain gardens, you will probably find him working with school groups to build oyster reef balls, to be used in restoration efforts within the St. Mary’s River.
Bob is currently the Executive Director of St. Mary’s River Watershed Association (SMRWA). His goal is to focus on a holistic approach to “protect, improve, and promote the sustainability of the St. Mary's River Watershed.” St. Mary’s County WSA looks forward to working with Bob on future projects!
Featured Master Watershed Steward - June 2019
While with the State Highway Administration, Cathy Rice worked with managers to meet the new requirements of the Clean Water Act to improve the quality of the water running off the roads. Now Cathy continues to care for the waterways in retirement as a Master Watershed Steward. She sees her role as a Steward to educate people about the impact that they have on water pollution and encourage ways to reduce water pollution. As an active member of First Lutheran Church in Ellicott City, she has led a multi-year effort to bring environmental stewardship to the forefront. Through a Chesapeake Bay Trust Restoration and Outreach grant, Cathy has organized the installation of two rain gardens and Bay-friendly landscaping on the church’s front lawn. These serve to reduce the amount of stormwater funneled into the local stream, and through signage to also educate the congregation and neighborhood about the value of stormwater management at an individual level. Cathy hopes that with a project like this all the neighbors will benefit from their example of teaching people to be aware of their impact on those who live downstream.
Allison Mosley and Bryon Bodt
Featured Master Watershed Steward - April 2019
Meet Allison Mosley and Bryon Bodt, members of the inaugural Harford County Master Watershed Stewards Academy. Already active members of the environmental community, Allison and Bryon took on the creation of floating wetlands at Ladew Topiary Gardens in Monkton, MD as their capstone project.
Working closely with Ladew staff, Bryon and Allison were able to both gain approval for their concept and funding for the implementation in a former quarry pond on the garden grounds. The floating wetlands, in addition to filtering nutrients entering the pond before they discharge to nearby waterways, provides habitat for everything from songbirds to fish to beneficial bacteria. Dedicated to teaching others about environmental stewardship, both Stewards have committed to assisting Ladew in integrating the new feature into their existing education and outreach materials for visitors and school group tours.
Rachel Mulbry and Danielle Hedquist
Featured Master Watershed Stewards - March 2019
Rachel Mulbry and Danielle Hedquist participated in the National Capital Region WSA in Fall 2017. Both are employees of The Nature Conservancy, but they wanted to learn more about on-the-ground community-based restoration programs occurring in the DC area. During the fall program, the NCR WSA program facilitator was approached separately by the President of the Langston Civic Association in DC to help clean-up and brand their historic neighborhood to encourage more community awareness and interaction. Immediately Danielle and Rachel came to mind to help with that project. Danielle is an accomplished artist and Rachel is an effective communicator and project coordinator. Over the course of almost a year, Danielle and Rachel met with community leaders, solicited their input on what images and concepts resonate within the community, and facilitated the design of two storm drain murals for the Langston neighborhood.
In the fall of 2018, Danielle and Rachel secured all the appropriate permits, materials and supplies, and got to work painting two beautiful storm drain murals with the help of community members. With these efforts as a great kickoff, members of the neighborhood are moving forward with Anacostia Watershed Society to develop and implement additional projects to educate residents on stormwater management, organize neighborhood clean-ups, and develop more personal relationships with the nearby Anacostia River.
Featured Master Watershed Steward - February 2019
Bryan Lightner, part of Cecil County’s inaugural class of 2015, has gone far beyond his original goal of learning more about stormwater management for his job through the Academy. For Bryan’s capstone project, he aimed to improve water quality and beautify an underused courtyard at Calvert Elementary School where his children attend. Bryan’s inspiration comes from walking in mature undisturbed forests, and Bryan aimed to bring a little piece of that feeling to the built environment. With a Chesapeake Bay Trusts Mini Grant, he constructed two planter boxes filled with native plants to capture and treat runoff from the school’s rooftop, a trellis with integrated seating, educational signage, and two rain barrels. The keystone event for the project was the unveiling of the practices at the school’s Fall Festival, where parents and their children helped to plant the boxes and decorate the rain barrels. Bryan continues to be active within the community as a Steward and has taken the lead on a variety of projects. Bryan’s biggest takeaway from the Watershed Stewards Academy was the artistic license to approach various community groups and institutions about taking part in more conservation landscaping projects. Cecil County is a relatively small community, where everybody eventually knows everybody. Bryan enjoys the connections he has made along the way, especially the ones where unforeseen mutual benefits have been realized from unique partnerships.
Featured Master Watershed Steward - January 2019
For Liz Curtz, a St. Mary’s County Class 1 Master Watershed Steward, the WSA program was just the beginning of her dive into improving the environmental health of St. Mary’s County. Her capstone project focused on assisting a local elementary school to revitalize the school’s rain garden. In January of 2017 Liz founded Friends of St Clements Bay, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization to provide organizational support for community watershed projects. She has applied for, and received, Chesapeake Bay Trust Community Mini-grant funds to support her projects. Liz has collaborated with many community partners to restore the rain garden and get the students involved in: a mosaic garden path, native plant signs, planting of native plants, and watershed science activities. The rain garden has over 30 different types of native plants.
Liz is currently leading Friends of St Clements Bay engagement in projects with Maryland Grows Oysters, stream restoration, and septic health. She excels at building partnerships and organizing projects. St. Mary’s County WSA looks forward to continuing working with Liz and Friends of St Clement Bay!