Going Green in Greektown
This autumn, Blue Water Baltimore wrapped up large-scale project and planted 215 trees on 1.2 miles of streets in southeast Baltimore’s Greektown neighborhood. Greektown is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Baltimore, but it’s also one of the least leafy with only an 8 percent tree canopy. This led the Greater Greektown Neighborhood Alliance to find out who in their neighborhood wanted to steward a new tree; they ultimately requested that Blue Water Baltimore plant trees in front of over 170 homes. Fulfilling that request was a real team effort. First, we would need to bust up more than 6,600 square feet of concrete to create new tree pits. St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and Crown Industries stepped up to provide a free staging area for our equipment.
Then came the trees! We went for a wide variety to create the most healthy, diverse, and beautiful environment possible. There were big trees for shade, like Hackberry, American Elm, Swamp White, Willow Oak, Blackgum, and Bald Cypress; and we planted smaller flowering trees for beauty and habitat, like Red Buckeye, Redbud, Serviceberry, Okame Cherry and Hawthorn. The trees were provided by TreeBaltimore, a program of the Baltimore City Department of Recreation & Parks, which provides trees for most of the public planting projects in our city. Planting trees throughout our city significantly reduces pollutants — such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment — from entering our waterways.
Of course, none of this could have happened without funding, the lion’s share of which came from the Chesapeake Bay Trust. The total cost for this project exceeded $125,000. Blue Water Baltimore would also like to thank the Baltimore Tree Trust and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for additional funding support.
So what did the group that started this all off think of it in the end? Liam Davis, President of the Greater Greektown Neighborhood Alliance, said, “Partnering with Blue Water Baltimore has been a tremendous experience. Our collaborative efforts have lead to the successful planting of over 300 trees in Greektown since 2016. It’s an amazing accomplishment considering these trees will benefit our community decades into the future.” Additionally, remarking on the final result, Laurie Russell, of Crown Industries, called it, “a boost to the neighborhood and to our tenants and their visitors.”
Together, Blue Water Baltimore and the other partners of TreeBaltimore have committed to reaching an overall tree canopy of 40% in our city by 2037. The City recently completed an inventory of all the public trees living in our streets and our parks and identified about 60,000 locations for future street tree plantings. We’re excited about continuing to work towards this goal. “The great work of Blue Water Baltimore is instrumental in helping green the City and increasing its tree canopy,” says our friend Charles R. Murphy at TreeBaltimore; he continues, “The partnership between Blue Water Baltimore and TreeBaltimore is a cohesive one that has opened new pits and planted hundreds of new trees in Greektown!”
NOTE: Unless noted otherwise, all photography is by Nathalie Aquino, Blue Water Baltimore’s Communications Intern from Towson University.
This project was generously funded by: