2021 "Mini" GreenFest
With the safety of Howard Community College students, staff, vendors, participants and volunteers, the decision has been made to hold a very scaled back hybrid event this year.
Throughout the month of April we will feature our GreenFest vendors and their business/organization.
Keep an eye on this page as we spotlight environmentally-friendly organizations and their impact on our community.
Virtual workshops and presentations coming soon!
At-home projects and activities will be made available for you and your family to celebrate Earth Day safely.
A small native plant sale, rain barrel & compost bin giveaway and shredding event will take place on Saturday, April 10th from 10am-3pm at Howard Community College in Parking Lot C. Masks will be required and social distancing will be in place.
Native Plant Sale
The in-person native plant sale will be held on Saturday, April 10th from 10am-3pm in Parking Lot B.
Masks will be required and social distancing will be in place. Please maintain 6' of distance between vendors and customers.
2021 Native Plant Vendors
- Go Native Tree Farm
- Lauren's Garden Service
- Meadowsweet Native Plant Farm
- TLV Tree Farm
Residents may bring up to three bags or boxes of paper to be shred. The event will be held from 10am - 2pm (or until trucks are full). Think before you shred--please ONLY bring items that contain personal information. Junk mail, catalogs and office paper can be recycled with regular curbside recycling collection. Although these events will have hours, shredding will be available until trucks are full which may occur before designated ending times.
For other upcoming shredding dates and more information, please visit our Document Shredding page.
Compost Bin Giveaway
We've reached our maximum number of sign-ups! Virtual workshops can be viewed below. Keep an eye out on this page for information about more upcoming giveaways.
Howard County residents interested in a FREE compost bin must complete the form below before picking up the bin at our "Mini" GreenFest on Saturday, April 10th between 10am and 3pm.
Limit one per household!
Rain Barrel Giveaway
We've reached our maximum number of sign-ups! Virtual workshops can be viewed below. Keep an eye out on this page for information about more upcoming giveaways.
Howard County residents interested in a FREE rain barrel must complete the training below before picking up the barrel at our "Mini" GreenFest on Saturday, April 10th between 10am and 12pm.
Limit one per household!
Enjoy a virtual lesson in the basics of this GPS-based recreational activity. It is an easy and inexpensive way to explore the outdoors, interpret natural and historical resources, learn a new tool, and enjoy time alone or with others.
Matt Medicus, Recreation Services Coordinator
Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks
Join Echoes Of Nature as they share a few animal ambassadors that you may have in your backyard or neighborhood. What animals do you find in your neighborhood? What are some ways we can help those animals to stay healthy and safe? Also find instructions on creating a craft that will help some birds during nesting season.
Echoes of Nature
Learn about the many uses for essential oils in your gardening process.
Lasting Light Wellness
This is an introduction to the entire climate problem, from how climate change works and how we know it’s real to the way that it impacts nearly every aspect of our lives. We will cover why climate change is producing more severe storms and flooding and also deeper droughts and how increased summer heat impacts agriculture and health. We have everything we need to slow climate change and we will discuss some easy things that individuals can do to be part of the climate solution.
Dr. Sara Via, Professor
UMD College Park ([email protected])
Learn about Howard County’s solar projects planned through its Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with KDC Solar, Inc. This project will build enough solar power to provide 50% of the electricity used by County government operations. The PPA includes solar project installation, operations, and maintenance at no capital cost to the County. When complete, the project will include installations on rooftops, parking lots, and grounds on municipal and private property in Howard County. In this presentation, Howard County staff and the technical consultant explain project benefits, locations, engineering drawings, and other project details.
Learn about the issue of stormwater runoff and the practices you can use to help manage stormwater on your own property. Rain barrels, rain gardens and other practices can reduce your impact on local streams and the Cheseapeake Bay.
Univeristy of Maryland Extension Service
Take a virtual class with the Master Gardeners and learn how to start and maintain your backyard compost bin.
University of Maryland Extension Service
Learn about native plants and pollinators through a virtual tour of a local meadow with the Howard County Conservancy.
The Howard County Conservancy
ASCM is a nonprofit organization founded in 1985 with a mission to protect and restore birds, other wildlife, and their habitats through education and action, for the benefit of people and the earth.
Aurora Energy has been installing solar energy systems since 1994 in the DC/MD/VA region and has focused solely on commercial PV since 2016. As a regional leader specializing in custom solar project development, engineering, installation and service for the past 27 years, Aurora has helped hundreds of customers save money with clean energy by switching to solar.
CCL empowers everyday people to work together on climate change solutions. Our supporters are organized in more than 600 local chapters across the United States, including one in Howard County. Together we’re building support in Congress for a national bipartisan solution to climate change.
Community Action Council of Howard County is Howard County’s designated anti-poverty organization. Last year, CAC served over 52,000 Howard County residents through our four core program areas: early childhood education, food assistance through the Howard County Food Bank and housing and energy assistance. Our energy assistance team is here to support families with cut-off notices while our weatherization team assists families by making their homes more energy efficient and lowering their monthly utility bill. Last year, the average family saved $400 thanks to CAC’s weatherization team. To learn more about any of our programs please visit our website.
Echoes Of Nature provides environmental education programs with live animal ambassadors for ages 2-8th grade, adult centers and everyone in between. We provide a variety of topics that follow NGSS and early childhood requirements. We have programs for birthdays, scouts, and special events. We are able to provide these programs in several formats: in-person at your location, live virtual and recorded. Our mission is to form the bridge between people and the natural world to encourage all people to get outside, explore our world, and become stewards for the environment.
Do your investments correlate with your values? We offer a comprehensive review to help evaluate your existing investments and measure the environmental, social and governmental impact. We offer complimentary reviews and can offer personalized recommendations on individual and business needs.
Premium potting mixes with only the best, cruelty-free, sustainable, & upcycled ingredients for your plants and the planet.
- Smarter alternatives (coconut coir & rice hulls - no peat)
- Cruelty free (plant meals + worm castings)
- Reduce frequency of watering
- 100% Organic // just add water!
- Eco-friendly soil you can trust
- More blooms, better produce // healthier, more vibrant plants
- Indoor & outdoor
- Excellent for raised beds
- Additives will never burn plants
Seed Starting, Houseplant, African Violet, Succulent, Cactus, and Vegetable – complete, ready to use. Just add water!
Maryland/DC Breeding Bird Atlas - citizen science program mapping the distribution of breeding birds every 10-square miles across the state.
The Howard County Stormwater Management Division protects stormwater by constructing stormwater ponds, restoring streams, responding to drainage complaints, and educating residents. We also track and attempt to prevent pollutants from reaching the County’s storm drain system and waterways.
SEEDS OF CHANGE is an environmental and workforce development program at the Howard County Department of Corrections. In 2016, EcoWorks established an on-site native plant nursery operation where inmates learn about nursery operation and plant propagation.
The plants are used in EcoWorks' environmental restoration projects around the County. The hands-on component is complemented by a sustainable landscaping curriculum. This low-cost, high return on investment program develops job skills and helps reduce recidivism.
Lasting Light Wellness is an alternative health and wellness company providing healing sessions, training, and natural products. We provide natural green organic solutions for the body and household issues. We sell organic essential oil-based cleaning products, beauty, natural pet care, baby care, body care, supplements, and essential oils. We educate the public about green alternatives to toxic household products. The products are grown organically and sustainably with minimal waste. The best natural farming practices are used. We only use organic products in our healing sessions and run an environmentally friendly office.
Less Plastic Please is a grassroots organization working to reduce single-use plastic through education and legislation. Offering presentations to the community, ranging from "Fracking Plastic" to "The Intersection of Plastic Pollution and Climate Change" to "Plastic Recycling is a Scam", we are committed to assuring Howard County citizens realize the dangers of single-use plastic. Less Plastic Please was instrumental in passing the Howard County Bag Bill. We presently fighting to reduce nuisance plastic with The Plastic Reduction Act.
Maryland Department of the Environment is the state environmental regulatory agency. We have tips and helpful resources for residents to help them be more environmentally friendly and healthy.
The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) advises the governor and general assembly on all energy matters, promoting affordable, reliable and cleaner energy. MEA develops and administers programs and policy to support and expand all sectors of the state’s economy while benefiting all Marylanders and implementing legislation.
State agency that regulates the business of insurance in Maryland. Agency provides resources to consumer to help them better understand insurance as well as help consumers who have problems or complaints with their insurance company or agent.
We are dedicated to Exemplifying Excellence Through Sustainable Service to the Greater Howard County Community. We have service projects which serve women's health, student mentoring and programs which provide a global impact. Participating in GreenFest each year facilitates this effort. We collect shoes, eyeglasses and denim of any color. The denim is re purposed into insulation which is used in homes built by Habitat for Humanity. Visit our website to see our programs of service.
Omega Eta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Patapsco Heritage Greenway's mission is dedicated to preserving, protecting, interpreting, and restoring the environment, history and culture of Maryland’s most dramatic river valley for all. We do this, in part, through our environmental program consisting of volunteer-based environmental stewardship, restoration, and outreach events. These volunteer activities consist of both planned group stewardship events as well as training-based independent opportunities.
We handcraft Hot Sauces and companion Marinades (in a choice of heat levels) using locally sourced ingredients. We make Real Food Real Tasty sauces ourselves and in-season. Our intention is to bring the flavor and quality of home cooking to as many home cooks as possible while supporting local agriculture. We strive to make cooking wholesome meals easy and nourishing.
Ned Tillman is the award winning author of three environmental books- all available on Amazon.
The Chesapeake Watershed - Describes the biggest challenges facing the Chesapeake Bay Area and offers actions that you can take at home, in the community, and at work.
Based in Howard County, the Community Ecology Institute (CEI) has a mission to cultivate communities where people and nature thrive together. CEI focuses on tangible, community-level change at the intersection of environment, education, equity, and health. Our experiential education programs concentrate on four Cs: Connection to Nature, Civic Ecology, Community Health, and Climate Action. We showcase and teach evidence-based best practices in these areas that are specifically responsive to Howard County’s natural and social ecosystems. We are the proud stewards of Freetown Farm, a unique and vibrant place of learning and common ground for diverse members of our community.
2020 (virtual) GreenFest
Thank you to all who attended our 2020 virtual Greenfest, and special thanks to all of our vendors, workshop hosts, and sponsors who helped make our first virtual event a success.
Highlights from the event:
- Over 70 online vendors provided knowledge and service information
- Over 700 online visitors
- 10 sponsors helped make the event possible
- 4 virtual workshops
- 4 online educational presentations
Master Gardener Program
- Master Gardeners
- Native Plant Sale
- Ask a Master Gardener
- Grow It! Eat It!
- Watershed Stewards Academy
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:
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: http://www.keystonewildflowers.com
- Lauren's Garden Service: http://www.laurensgardenservice.com
- Meadowsweet Native Plant Farm: http://www.meadowsweetnative.com
More information on Native Plants and links to other great websites can be found at:
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
- 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: https://extension.umd.edu/mg/locations/bay-wise-landscape-management
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 https://extension.umd.edu/ask - you can ask a question anytime via the web or (b) Ask-A-Master-Gardener sessions (normally held at our libraries) via email [email protected]
Learn more at: https://extension.umd.edu/mg/locations/ask-master-gardener
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.
How you can help pollinators:
- Provide food – Plant natives
- Provide water sources (and puddling areas for butterflies)
- Provide shelter
- Safeguard pollinator habitat
- Control invasive plants
- Reduce pesticide and herbicide use
If you have questions about starting your Pollinator Garden or Native Landscape, please ask us at [email protected]
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 https://extension.umd.edu/learn/ask-gardening
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.