[imageframe link=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/29388462@N06/23225422080/” ] Plantings that involve the community attract volunteers of all ages.The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake (IPC) have successfully kicked off their 10,000 Trees Project this fall. The project started with the goal of engaging a multitude of houses of worship, with funding from MD Department of Natural Resources, to help them in caring for the environment and water quality through planting trees on their property and engaging them in spiritual workshops. So far 30 congregations have signed up and even more have expressed interest in improving their land, whether it be an urban environment or already partially forested rural property.[imageframe link=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/29388462@N06/23225422080/” ] Alliance staff and Church volunteers at Ss. Philip & James University Parish.While most of the plantings will occur in the Spring and Fall of 2014, a handful of plantings have already taken place. In just 4 plantings, approximately 500 trees have been planted, including seedlings and juvenile trees in order to maximize the number of trees installed on our original grant, the Maryland DNR Governor’s Stream Restoration Challenge grant. The grant allows the Alliance and IPC to provide trees, technical support and educational programs to congregations wishing to increase the acres of trees on their properties. Each congregation is provided with[imageframe link=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/29388462@N06/23225422080/” ] Volunteers are told about the importance of trees and instructed how to properly plant a tree.So far, participating congregations have had an active role in their environment, with congregations pulling volunteers from their environmental groups to plant trees and continue existing greening projects. These congregations have shown a commitment to the environment by planting trees that will enhance water quality and provide habitat for native species.[imageframe link=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/29388462@N06/23225422080/” ] Congregation members are responsible for maintaining the trees and receive education and instruction.The Alliance is working to improve the health of other communities. We have decided to make a commitment to plant native trees in order to protect our dwindling community of native migratory birds. Oaks and Maples are some of the two dominant host species to caterpillars, a keystone in the diet of native migratory birds. These birds have suffered due to deforestation and the planting of non-native, ornamental trees, so the Alliance is trying to reverse these effects through the 10,000 Trees project. Although the change will be slight, it is a step in the right direction and will encourage other houses of worship and their members to be more mindful of their impacts on the environment.Feedback from participants has been excellent so far, with many people signing up to hear about further Alliance programs. If your congregation would like to enroll in this program, please contact Dan Brellis at dbrellis@allianceforthebay.org or Jodi Rose at Jodi@interfaithchesapeake.org.