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Virtual GreenFest 2020!

Virtual GreenFest 2020Thanks to all the community partners who provided resources for Howard County residents through this year’s first ever Howard County Virtual GreenFest! 

Earth Month may be over, but you can keep going green thanks to the resources provided by local green businesses, nonprofits and government agencies. Materials will remain posted through the summer so you can continue to learn about citizen science, community solar, pollinators, native plants, local stewardship activities, and much more.

We look forward to seeing you next year!


"Climate of Hope Project- Climate Victory Garden" - Community Ecology Instituteclimate victory garden

Climate Victory Garden Video

CEI’s Climate of Hope Project includes three innovation areas: 1) Climate Aware Agriculture featuring Renewable Energy Integration; 2) Cultivating Climate Victory Gardens; and 3) Community Climate Change Education. In 2019 CEI planted and certified the 2nd Climate Victory Garden in the state of Maryland. Learn all about our Climate Victory Garden and how you to create your own.


 Maryland and DC Breeding Bird Atlas

breeding bird

Learn about a current citizen science project that you can participate in from your window! The Maryland & DC Breeding Bird Atlas is a five year effort to record pairs of breeding birds in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Please click here to watch a video introduction to the program.   




Introduction to Rain Barrelsrain barrels

Please click here to view a PDF of a University of Maryland Extension Service PowerPoint on Rain Barrel installation and maintenance. 




Environmental Stewardship at Home

howard ecoworksCheck out Howard EcoWorks YouTube channel (click here) for videos about environmental stewardship activities you can do around your home, including: removing Asiatic bittersweet and nandina, and mulching your trees properly.


Also check out their videos highlighting their work around the County, including projects like Ellicott City stream channel debris removal.


Master Gardener Programs



Master Gardeners





Howard County Master Gardeners are volunteers, trained by the university, providing horticultural education services to individuals, groups, and communities including government agencies, neighborhood associations, non-profit organizations, historic sites, schools and youth groups, senior citizens and garden clubs. Master Gardener programs and services are available free of charge to all Howard County residents and community groups.  For more information on our services or becoming a Master Gardener check out our website:

Los Maestros Jardineros del Condado de Howard son voluntarios, capacitados por la universidad, que proporcionan servicios de educación hortícola a individuos, grupos y comunidades, incluyendo agencias gubernamentales, asociaciones vecinales, organizaciones sin fines de lucro, sitios históricos, escuelas y grupos juveniles, adultos mayores y clubes de jardinería. Los programas y servicios de los Maestros Jardineros se ofrecen de forma gratuita a todos los residentes y grupos comunitarios del Condado de Howard. Si desea información adicional sobre nuestros servicios o desea saber cómo llegar a ser Maestro Jardinero consulte nuestro sitio web:



Native Plants





Although we couldn’t host the Native Plant sale this year, please support the following vendors who participate in GreenFest each year and make native plants accessible to Howard County residents:

Keystone Wildflowers:

Lauren's Garden Service

Meadowsweet Native Plant Farm


More information on Native Plants and links to other great websites can be found at:








Better Water Quality through Smarter Gardening


Our mission is to educate residents about landscape practices that protect the Chesapeake Bay and our local waterways.  By changing a few simple practices, together we can help keep our Maryland water healthy. 

Are you Bay-Wise?  Test your knowledge of these Bay-Wise principles by using the Bay-Wise Yardstick to see how you measure up. 

  • Controlling Storm water Runoff
  • Encouraging Wildlife
  • Protecting the Waterfront
  • Mowing properly and Watering Efficiently
  • Managing Yard Pests
  • Mulching and Recycling
  • Fertilizing
  • Planting Wisely


Home consultations to assist homeowners with their landscaping problems will resume once the threat from the Corona virus is past. In the meantime, please refer to the resources on our webpage:



Ask a Master Gardener






Better Water Quality through Smarter Gardening


Ask a Master Gardener-Plant Clinic is a program where Master Gardener volunteers, in conjunction with the University of Maryland Extension, provide information to home gardeners at the county libraries and other events throughout the county.  During this time of corona virus please take advantage of the following resources: (a) Ask and Expert  - you can ask a question anytime via the web or (b) Ask-A-Master-Gardener sessions (normally held at our libraries) via email

Learn more at:










Compost is a dark and crumbly material produced by the natural decomposition of leaves, kitchen food scraps, and other organic materials. Why compost at home?

  • Reduces waste: Yard and food waste that can be composted make up around 25% or more of trash to landfills.
  • Improves soil: Compost helps break up clay and attracts earthworms that aerate soil.
  • Retains moisture: Slows run-off from rain by holding three times its weight in water. Incorporate compost in the soil so you water less.
  • Reduces need for fertilizer: Compost provides nutrients for your plants, trees, lawns and shrubs.


Learn more:








Pollinators and Native Landscapes


How you can help pollinators:

1.         Provide food – Plant natives

2.         Provide water sources (and puddling areas for butterflies)

3.         Provide shelter

4.         Safeguard pollinator habitat

a.         Control invasive plants

b.         Reduce pesticide and herbicide use

If you have questions about starting your Pollinator Garden or Native Landscape, please ask us at


Learn more at:



Grow it! Eat It!


The Grow It! Eat It! campaign is a joint venture between The Maryland Master Gardener program and the Home and Garden Information Center - to provide education and encourage Marylanders to learn how to start and maintain successful food gardens.


Spring is here and it’s the perfect time to start a home garden! With the current COVID-19 crisis we are all a bit stressed and could really use the therapeutic benefits and productivity of food gardening. Here are just few of the many benefits to growing your own food:


  • Fresher & More Nutritious - Fruits and vegetables that ripen naturally in the garden and are consumed within days of harvest have more nutrients than store-bought vegetables.
  • Save Money - A seed packet of basil costs as little as $.99 and contains hundreds of seeds. One small bunch of basil in the grocery store can cost 3x as much.
  • Greater Variety - Food gardening provides the opportunity to try plants and varieties that aren’t available in markets.
  • Less Environmental Impact - We minimize our food's environmental impact when we grow it at home.
  • No Pesticides – Growing food at home means you have total control of how the plant is grown and cared for. It’s a simple way to guarantee your food is organic when you don’t use pesticides.


Below are resources for you to learn more and help you get started. Happy growing!


UME Home & Garden Information Center (HGIC) Webpage


UME MD Grows Blog


HGIC YouTube Channel on Food Gardening


Have Questions? Contact our MD Gardening Experts at




Howard County Watershed Stewards Academy

Protecting your streams, rivers, and bay!



The Howard County Watershed Stewards Academy is a cooperative effort of the University of Maryland Extension and Howard County to increase the number and diversity of trained volunteers who have the knowledge and skill required to enhance the health of our local streams, rivers, and lakes. Watershed Stewards work with neighbors to provide best storm water management practices.

We are not accepting requests for neighborhood and homeowner inspections while we limit personal contact to help minimize the impact of the Corona virus. We will resume when it is advisable; hopefully soon. Stay safe.


British American AutoColumbia AssociationHoCo Climate ActionHoward County ConservancyHoward Soil Conservation DistrictLauren's Garden ServiceLeague of Women Voters of Howard CountyMOM's Organic MarketMaster GardenerWatershed Stewards Academy