To introduce the theme and project for my term you need to know that I grew up as a tomboy. We lived in a neighborhood surrounded by a native forest and streams. I spent endless hours roaming those woods. Over the years I came to learn the patterns of growth: first came the Mayapples, followed by Jack-in-the-pulpits, native ferns, and dogwoods. If like me, you were fortunate enough to grow up at that time you remember warm summer evenings when the lawns were filled with lightning bugs. It was these memories that made me realize how much has changed. Think of it…when was the last time you saw a lightning bug, heard peeper frogs, or saw a Baltimore Oriole? Too many of our native birds and insects have all but disappeared. How bad is it?
• North America has three billion fewer birds today compared to 1970.
• A new study finds frogs, toads, and salamanders also disappearing at an alarming rate. • The bumblebee species has declined by 96%.
At 96% they are functionally extinct even if you can still find some.
The tragedy is that we did it—collectively, with our landscaping and development practices. We have cut down the native forests and fields and replaced them with invasives, non-native plants, pavement, and lawns. In doing so, we destroyed their habitat. We have also polluted our waterways with erosion, chemical runoff, sewage, and plastics. So, what can we do? Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is continuing to do the same thing but expecting different results.” The answer is simply that we need to change what we are doing, in our homes, clubs, and communities. Each one of us choosing to change one thing can make a difference. That is the purpose of my President’s Project, “Sustaining Maryland…one action at a time.” I’m going to ask each of you to think of something you can do differently: reduce your use of plastic, carpool, begin recycling, leave the leaves to overwinter, conserve, and plant more trees and native plants. There is an endless list of things you can do—please just start with one. But my project is to also encourage this on a larger scale. Your donations to the President’s Project will be used to fund grants to garden clubs that want to implement programs to benefit the environment. Grants will be given twice a year. The deadlines are August 31 (awarded October) and February 28 (awarded March). Please join me in this journey. Working together we can make a difference and create a better world to leave for the next generation.