Work is done on the “Trail of Change” at Pocomoke River State Park in spring 2021. Photo courtesy Friends of Maryland State Parks.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Maryland State Parks are completing 15 projects with the assistance of a new grant program of the Friends of Maryland State Parks, improving trails and habitats and enhancing opportunities for kids and adults to learn about aquatic river life, pollinators, terrapins and more.
Launched in 2020, the Small Grants, Big Impact! Program is designed to inspire people from all backgrounds to connect with, celebrate, and support Maryland State Parks and their community-based programs. Through its Small Grants program the nonprofit provides $1,000 grants to state parks to help them achieve their mission.
The recently awarded grants, totaling $13,619, provided funding that has enabled parks throughout the state to collaborate with community partners to improve shoreline habitats, build wildlife interpretive displays, create pollinator gardens, and hire Youth Conservation Corps to assist with projects such as trail restoration and building boardwalks.
“The funding received has enabled parks to complete projects and improvements that ordinarily would not have been accomplished,” Maryland Park Service Superintendent Nita Settina said. “This opportunity sparked creativity among the grantees [state parks], who completed, among other things, four pollinator garden installations, three trail renovations, and improvements to animal enclosures for our Scales & Tales ambassadors at two parks.”
Parks and their projects funded by Small Grants this year are:
Assateague State Park – pollinator garden
Deep Creek Lake State Park – Sang Run orchard
Elk Neck State Park – interpretive displays for Nature Center
Helen Avalynne Tawes Garden – trail renovation of Western Maryland section of the garden
Merkle Natural Resources Management Area – Scales and Tales mobile animal carts
Merkle Natural Resources Management Area – pollinator garden
Patapsco Valley State Park – pollinator garden
Pocomoke River State Park – Trail of Change puncheon (boardwalk)
Susquehanna State Park – Hidden Valley Trail puncheon (boardwalk)
Tuckahoe State Park – diamondback terrapin enclosure
Tuckahoe State Park – tree planting
Statewide – Monarch Butterfly traveling trunk
Statewide — snorkeling program supplies
More information on each project can be found on the Friends of Maryland State Parks website.
“As the Maryland Park Service enters this new decade, our parks are being used more than ever by an estimated 20 million annual visitors,” said Mel Poole, Board President, Friends of Maryland State Parks. “It is important for us to give back to keep our parks vital for this and future generations.”
The Small Grants, Big Impact! Program supports creative and/or critical conservation and education projects and the small grant funding can be leveraged with volunteer activities and/or state funding to go even further in helping a state park achieve its goals.