Howard County “Students Branching Out” Tree Planting Program

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What is polluted runoff?

Parts of the Chesapeake Bay watershed contain a high percentage of impervious cover – paved or other hard surfaces such as roofs and roadways that prevent rain water from being absorbed into the ground.  Instead, water runs along these surfaces, collecting trash and substances such as motor oil, lawn fertilizers, and pesticides.  This polluted stormwater flows into streams and rivers, where it threatens aquatic ecosystems and public health.  

Effective stormwater management, on the other hand, creates safe paths for polluted runoff to be captured and filtered through the ground before it reaches waterways.  This helps keep the environment clean and our communities healthy!

Students work together to plant a tree. Photo credit: Office of Community Sustainability, Howard County.
Students pose with their newly planted tree. Photo credit: Office of Community Sustainability, Howard County.


Project Location: Howard County, MD

Problem: Howard County has affirmed a commitment to planting trees throughout the county, given the many benefits of urban forests and tree canopies including noise reduction, improved air quality, temperature regulation, augmented aesthetics, higher property values, and stormwater management (reduced erosion, flooding, and water pollution).

Solution:  To augment tree canopy, encourage volunteerism, and support environmental education, Howard County created the Students Branching Out program, which engages students to plant trees on school grounds.  To date, fifteen schools throughout the county have participated, improving school health and aesthetics while enhancing water quality in local streams.

Funding Sources: Chesapeake Bay Trust; Howard County General Fund


Contact information:

Rachel Beebe | Howard County | | 410-313-0678

Key project facts

Project Type:
Tree Planting
$100,000 - $249,999
Story Focus:
Cost Efficiency, Environmental Justice, Environmental Benefits, Community Engagement
Stormwater Utility Funds:
Problem Addressed:
Year Installed: