Learn how you too can be ‘Bay-Wise’

Cecil Whig - - JUMPSTART - By KAREN RITA

Spe­cial to the Whig

The Bay-Wise Com­mit­tee of the Ce­cil County Mas­ter Gar­den­ers ex­pects a pro­duc­tive year af­ter a flurry of ac­tiv­ity in 2015.

Three more yards were cer­ti­fied as meet­ing the stan­dards set up by the Univer­sity of Maryland Ex­ten­sion of­fice. The Bay-Wise Pro­gram en­cour­ages con­ser­va­tion through thought­ful con­sid­er­a­tion of the land­scape’s ef­fect on wa­ter qual­ity.

Eval­u­ated by Judy Duffy, Sandy Phillips, Pat Oceanic and Kathie Jar­mon, my lot in Ch­e­sa­peake City met enough of the cri­te­ria to earn recog­ni­tion last fall. As the first house in the his­toric dis­trict on the south side canal, and the site of a new gar­den-themed store, the sign should gen­er­ate some much needed at­ten­tion to the cause.

The Ce­cil County Mas­ter Gar­den­ers have been study­ing and pro­mot­ing Bay-friendly land­scape de­sign and yard main­te­nance for sev­eral years. Their goal is to en­cour­age peo­ple to re­view the Bay-Wise Maryland Yard­stick to see whether they can adopt any of the best prac­tices at their home.

For each of the fol­low­ing cat­e­gories, there are a num­ber of ac­tions that score “inches” to­wards cer­ti­fi­ca­tion: storm wa­ter runoff mit­i­ga­tion, wildlife sup­port, wa­ter­front pro­tec­tion, mow­ing and wa­ter­ing wisely, in­te­grated pest man­age­ment, care with yard waste and mulch, fer­til­iza­tion and plant­ing pri­or­i­ties. If 36 of the “inches” are earned, the yard is cer­ti­fied as a BayWise gar­den and re­ceives a sign to de­note its sta­tus.

Any time the com­mit­tee can en­cour­age good stew­ard­ship through thought­ful gar­den­ing prac­tices, the pro­gram has served our com­mu­nity. Our com­mit­tee would love to talk with you about ways to im­prove your land­scape and gar­den prac- tices. Whether peo­ple learn just one way they can take pos­i­tive ac­tion or re­view the en­tire list and ac­com­plish as many tasks as pos­si­ble, it all benefits the goal of pro­tect­ing our en­vi­ron­ment for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of gar­den­ers.

Of­ten, peo­ple get in­tim­i­dated by the big list and the things they can’t ac­com­plish. We’d like peo­ple to give them­selves credit for what they’re do­ing right, and see how many things they could tweak to reach the goal of be­com­ing BayWise cer­ti­fied. I still have a few things that are in progress, but I scored enough to qual­ify, and now that my sign is up I will have the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate con­ver­sa­tions with my neigh­bors and cus­tomers.

Other yards cer­ti­fied in 2015 in­clude those of Mas­ter Gar­dener’s Judy Duffy in North East and Beth Dou­glass in Bon­ney Shores, Elkton.

Ad­di­tional cer­ti­fi­ca­tions in the area in­clude: Mas­ter Gar­dener Brian Tome in Elkton, Mas­ter Gar­dener Christy Michaud in Ch­e­sa­peake Isles, Mas­ter Gar­dener Jen Fox in Elkton, Mas­ter Gar­dener Olive Daniel in Elkton, Mas­ter Gar­dener Max­ine Lynch in Charlestown, Andy Vaughn in Ch­e­sa­peake City, David Segermark in Ear­leville and Parke John in North East.

Or­ga­ni­za­tions that have at- tained Bay-Wise cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in­clude: Bain­bridge El­e­men­tary School, Bay View El­e­men­tary School, Elkton High School, North Bay Adventure in Elk Neck and Grove Point Girl Scout Camp.

If you have a chance, stop by to check one out!

To learn more about my gar­den, visit anewleafcc. com and scroll to the base for links to the Ce­cil County Mas­ter Gar­dener’s pro­gram and Bay-Wise Yard Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

If you would like to have the Mas­ter Gar­dener’s present this topic for your or­ga­ni­za­tion or get your yard eval­u­ated for BayWise cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, con­tact the Ce­cil County Ex­ten­sion Of­fice at 410-996-5280.

Each week, a Ce­cil County Mas­ter Gar­dener will write in to share their gar­den­ing ex­pe­ri­ences or an­swer a gar­den­ing ques­tion. To sub­mit ques­tions to the Mas­ter Gar­dener, send them to ce­cil­mas­ter­gar­dener@ gmail.com.

SPE­CIAL TO THE WHIG

Mas­ter Gar­dener and Bay-Wise Com­mit­tee Member Judy Duffy poses with her new sign in her freshly-cer­ti­fied yard.

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