We Love Our Volunteers! Spotlight: Kate Stevens
Clean Water, Strong Communities!
It takes a community of people to grow a community of trees. As another wonderful tree planting season draws to a close, Blue Water Baltimore celebrates the strong communities that work hard to clean our waterways. Check out the following spotlights to learn about some of our most dedicated partners and volunteers.
Kate is one of our most dedicated volunteers and she’s spent 30 hours this season planting trees with us. Learn more about what it’s like to volunteer with Blue Water Baltimore through our Q & A with Kate below.
1. What do you enjoy most about volunteering with Blue Water Baltimore?
I love that I can make a tangible difference in just a morning or afternoon. Where there was a litter-strewn field hours ago, there’s now a beautiful, open green space for everyone to enjoy; where there was just an unsightly hole in the concrete, there’s now a little healthy tree that will grow for decades! Volunteering in general isn’t something one does expecting instant gratification, but I have to admit that it’s very rewarding seeing the fruits of my labor the same day. Also, the exercise and sunlight are nice added perks!
2. Do you have a favorite memory of a BWB event?
I had a blast coming out to multiple days of planting in Broadway East this fall. I loved the residents’ engagement and enthusiasm for selecting their trees! Also, the clean-up day at Herring Run park was memorable for the wide range of fascinating refuse we collected—lots of stream-sunken treasures!
3. What is your favorite type of tree?
It’s hard to choose, because I keep learning new ones! My stand-by favorites are Sassafras and Ginkgo because they were the first ones I learned how to reliably identify, but I also love Eastern Redbuds, Serviceberries, Dogwoods, and River Birches!
4. What do you do when you’re not planting trees with us?
I recently accepted a full-time communications position at a local institution that facilitates collaborative, data-intensive research for scientists from all disciplines. While it’s not the same as literally getting my hands dirty planting trees, I’m excited about the organization’s involvement in local, environmental, and citizen science-based projects, including the Global Urban Soil Ecological Education Network (GLUSEEN), a worldwide, multi-city effort investigating the impact of urban development on soil and decomposition, as well as Galaxy Zoo, a citizen-science astronomy project using images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
Outside of work I spend a lot of time doting on my dogs, cat, and 35-year-old indoor ficus tree!
5. What motivates you to keep coming back?
So the trees brought me in, but the people have me coming back. I have a blast hearing about both staff and other volunteers’ knowledge and experience with nature in the area. I’ve learned about a Patterson Park bird watching club, a compost crew, foraging tips, and some cool hiking and camping spots to try out. Everyone has been kind and eager to share intel about their own corner of the city and how they find ways to interact with the natural world while living in an urban environment.
“I’m excited to start working toward my pruning certification this month (and not a moment too soon, because my ficus badly needs a prune)! ” – Kate Stevens
If you’re considering getting involved in volunteering, the TreeKeepers city stewardship program (via TreeBaltimore) is a great way to start learning more about trees and ways to stay engaged.
This blog will be updated weekly with additional volunteer spotlights!