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Governor O’Malley Announces Smart, Green & Growing Initiative
Howard County, Patuxent Inmates Help Launch One Million Tree Planting Goal
Jessup, Md. — Governor Martin O’Malley today unveiled Maryland: Smart, Green & Growing, a multi-agency, statewide initiative to help Maryland achieve a more sustainable future by linking community revitalization, transportation improvements, economic development, smart growth and environmental restoration efforts.
“As Marylanders, we are blessed with a tremendous quality of life because of our state’s natural resources and beauty, but the quality of life we leave to our children and theirs is not inevitable,” said Governor O’Malley. “The connection between a strong economy, a healthy environment and our preferred quality of life is inherent. However, to achieve real progress in improving the way our communities grow, we must invest in that connection to use and protect our natural resources in a more sustainable way while growing our economy.”
The Governor made the announcement at the kickoff of Marylanders Grow Trees, an initiative under the Smart, Green & Growing umbrella to plant one million new trees across the state by 2011 and encourage citizen involvement in forest restoration. The citizen component includes a new website, www.DNR.Maryland.gov/GrowTrees, where Marylanders can register the trees they plant and calculate their benefits. The site will soon offer an interactive siting map and incentives for spring plantings. Earlier this year, Governor O’Malley announced the Marylanders Grow Oysters project in the Tred Avon River, another Smart, Green & Growing citizen stewardship project.
At today’s event, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman joined Governor O’Malley and representatives from the Maryland Departments of Public Safety and Corrections, Natural Resources and Transportation, as inmates from the Patuxent Institution planted 1,000 seedlings in a grow-out station on the prison grounds.
“In these tough economic times, government must work smarter and more efficiently than ever. This program does just that: state and local governments are working together, using existing resources, to protect the environment,” said Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.
The native seedlings, purchased by Howard County from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, will be cared for by Patuxent inmates until they are mature enough for planting in the county.
“Forests are the region’s most strategically important natural resource,” said DNR Secretary John R. Griffin. “In addition to protecting water quality, cleaning the air and providing wildlife habitat, one large tree can eliminate 5,000 gallons of stormwater runoff annually and well placed trees can reduce energy costs by 15 to 35 percent.”
Community based public works projects offer many inmates opportunities to give back to the community while learning new job skills as they prepare for re-entry back into society.
“Helping improve the state’s environment is a main goal of Public Safety’s inmate public works program. Inmates provide labor for projects in the community for the environment, and these projects can help us rebuild lives,” said DPSCS Secretary Gary Maynard. “This year alone, with the help of DNR, local government and communities we will plant 38,000 trees throughout the state.”
Growing and planting trees is one of several ways that the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is getting inmates involved in community improvement projects. Inmates also constructed oyster cages to support the Marylanders Grow Oysters project.
“By aligning our infrastructure and growth-related resources, as well as resource restoration and stewardship efforts, we will have greater investment returns and opportunities,” added the Governor. “By choosing to grow smart and live green, every Maryland citizen can play a role in creating cleaner, healthier and more vibrant communities.”
November 14, 2008
Contact: Olivia Campbell
410-260-8016 office I 410-507-7525 cell
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov.