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Free Trees Available to Protect the Muddy Branch Stream

August 11, 2012 Green Blog No Comments

Farmer John Ledgard talking with Muddy Branch Alliance’s Nicole Condon about how to transplant trees. Darnestown, Md

Gaithersburg, Md

August 11, 2012

By: Alex Stavitsky-Zeineddin

A Montgomery County farmer, a local watershed group, and a local environmental activist are joining forces and starting a free tree planting program so as to reduce water runoff into the Muddy Branch stream in Gaithersburg, Md.

Muddy Branch Alliance’s summer interns Nicole Condon and Cally Deppen, along with Muddy Branch Alliance founder, Paul Hlavinka, created this project as a way to  better protect the waterways water quality by reducing the amount of water that runs off people’s lawns and private property. The year old non-profit organization Muddy Branch is in Gaithersburg, Md.  Its mission is to make people aware of the local waterways and helps organize events to get people actively engaged in improving the water quality of the Muddy Branch stream.

“ We want to have native trees planted near the watershed because it holds the soil and acts as buffer vegetation between homes and developed areas.  The less sediment and runoff  also helps storm water management.  Trees also provide more shade, cool the water,and provide good natural habitats,“ said Condon, one of two Muddy Branch interns who have organized the project. Condon has worked at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  after she finished her Masters in Environmental Science at American University in D.C.

The idea of planting trees is also part of a bigger project in Montgomery County. According to Muddy Branch co-founder Paul Hlavinka, Montgomery County reached out to Muddy Branch Alliance to help reforest areas as part of a state mandate for a storm water permit.  According to Hlavinka, the county will reforest county lands but needs support in reaching out to citizens to plant trees on private property.

25 native trees including black cherries, red buds, tulip poplars, Easter redlands, and sweet gums are being donated for the free tree planting project by local Potomac environmental activist Rosina Perthel.   Perthel has grown these seedlings at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Potomac, Md.  Perthel developed a “no mow zone area” so as to create long grass habitat for songbirds to lay their eggs.  In the process, the surrounding trees dropped their seeds and lots of seedlings started to pop up. “ This is the cheapest way to get trees. Find a seedling, transplant it into an area where it can have room to grow” said Perthel.

The seedlings will be brought to  Good Life Farm in Darnestown, Md.  Owner and farmer John Ledgard has donated space on his land for the young seedlings to rest until they find a home.  Ledgard donated space for this project because he knows the importance of trees as a way to keep soil in its place.  Ledgard is a member of the newly formed  Montgomery County Food Council, a group of private and public entities  organized by Montgomery County whose aim is to “ promote a local sustainable food system.”

Muddy Branch Alliance members will promote the free tree planting project at the  upcoming Montgomery County Fair in Gaithersburg, Md, August 16th and 17th at a Muddy Branch booth.   According to Condon, the objective is to have 10 trees planted this fall.  People can sign up  for a a free tree and  for a free tree. The Muddy Branch Alliance will help plant the tree and provide information as to how to take care of the tree once planted.

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