Today is Earth Day 2013, the 44th celebration since its inception in 1970. As the Earth Day Network explains, “The idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.
“Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda.”
Locally, one of the annual events is an annual tree planting by Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), Washington Gas Energy Services (WGES) and Sterling Planet; the third annual event was in Union Bridge, Maryland, on Saturday.
This is the third annual tree planting event, comprising more than 170 volunteers, including staff from CBF, WGES and Sterling Planet. Traditionally held just before Earth Day, the event benefits the local region in multiple ways. Planting 1,400 native trees and shrubs restores more than 6,000 feet, or seven acres, of stream bank, preventing pollution and runoff into the Wolf Pit Branch stream, which ultimately flows into the Atlantic Ocean via the Chesapeake Bay. These trees will also improve air quality by reducing carbon emissions in the Chesapeake Bay region.
A combined contribution of $132,000 was presented to the CBF-directed Carbon Reduction Fund, with $88,000 donated by WGES and $44,000 by Sterling Planet. Since its launch in 2010, the partnership has provided the Carbon Reduction Fund more than $400,000 in total contributions.
“Events like this tree planting demonstrate how best to save the Bay, through cooperation between government, business and citizens,” said Rob Schnabel, restoration scientist, Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “Today’s donation of $132,000 to the Carbon Reduction Fund from WGES and Sterling Planet will help us clean the water and air of Carroll County. We owe that to our children and grandchildren. We’ve made significant progress. Every effort we make helps finish the job.”
To date, Carbon Reduction Fund projects have supported the planting of more than 9,000 trees in Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Talbot, Frederick and Carroll counties in Maryland. Over a 50-year lifespan, the environmental benefit of these trees equates to avoiding the use of more than 900,000 gallons of gasoline.