UMB Celebrates Earth Week

UMB Celebrates Earth WeekUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) students, faculty, and staff celebrated Earth Week from April 22-26 in commemoration of Earth Day, an annual worldwide celebration that demonstrates support for environmental causes.

Participants at UMB stenciled storm drains, watched a documentary on world resources, planted fruit trees, and volunteered at an urban farm. Here are the details:

Storm Drain Stenciling

University students, faculty, and staff, in partnership with Blue Water Baltimore, stenciled storm drains around the SMC Campus Center on April 25. Located on Penn Street between Lombard and Pratt streets, the painted storm drains help to educate the University community about where litter ends up. With messages such as “A Healthy Harbor Starts Here” and “Storm Drains Are Only for Rain,” passersby learn that the trash they drop is pushed by stormwater runoff directly into the Chesapeake Bay. 

"I think integrating environmental awareness into our lives is extremely important, and being able to promote that idea by painting sea creatures on campus storm drains was a fantastic experience,” says volunteer and coordinator Kathryn Turner of Campus Life Services. “Blue Water Baltimore, our partner in this project, explained the connections between litter, clean water, and how our actions directly impact the well-being of our University and other Baltimore communities.”

“When I first heard about the opportunity to engage in a community beautification project and work alongside students within different disciplines, I was ecstatic!” volunteer Nisah Abdul-Sabur, a School of Social Work student, said about wanting to help with the project. “Educating the Baltimore community on the importance of minimizing pollution through adorning drainage covers in bold messaging was a phenomenal way of engagement. My hope is that our efforts sparked interest amongst students, faculty, and within the surrounding communities so that in the future we are able to expand our efforts and solidify the ‘Go Green’ movement on campus and beyond.”

Documentary Screening, Home

Students, faculty, and staff attended a film screening of Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s 2009 award-winning documentary Home on Earth Day, April 22. The film shows a visually stunning perspective of the world we live in and what is at stake if we continue consuming as we do. A sustainably sourced dinner also was provided. After the film, attendees discussed how much the world has changed in the past 50 years, as opposed to the past 1,000 years, and how they can preserve resources by recycling, eating locally, and conserving energy.

Real Food Farm Workday

University students and staff volunteered with Real Food Farm on April 26. Volunteers created an erosion-protected swale to drain fields without polluting the Chesapeake Bay. Stormwater runoff will be limited/filtered by rocks, burlap, fescue, plants, and an erosion blanket. 

“I volunteered at Real Food Farm because I believe that locally grown food produced by responsible and sustainable means is a vital part of a community,” says volunteer Andrew LePine, a School of Dentistry student. “It makes its people and environment much more healthy. Volunteering is important for the University because it gives its members a chance to connect and help out people and the environment through ways beyond the scope of our individual schools. Also, supporting this farm gives people the opportunity to get fresh fruits and vegetables that they otherwise would not have access to.”

Plant a Tree

Members of UMB Go Green and first-grade students at Southwest Baltimore Charter School (SBCS), located in West Baltimore, planted apple and peach trees in the school’s front yard. SBCS partners with the CLUB UMB Mentoring and Youth Leadership Program, an initiative of the University’s President’s Outreach Council. 

“I think the fruit tree planting was the perfect complement to other campus health and wellness initiatives in place at these schools that include bringing kids to the University Farmers Market, CLUB UMB’s President’s Fitness Challenge, and the FOODPLAY theatrical performance, brought to Southwest Baltimore Charter on the very morning of the planting via a partnership between the Hippodrome Foundation and UMB,” says Brian Sturdivant, MSW, director of community partnerships and strategic initiatives in the Office of Government Affairs.

For more photos, click here

For future volunteer opportunities and additional resources, visit UMB Go Green's website, Facebook or Twitter pages, or email

— Tracy Gnadinger

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