It is with great pleasure that the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay recognizes Wendy Smith as the 2022 Pennsylvania Watershed Champion Awardee at this year’s “Taste: Celebrate the Chesapeake” on September 15th at Rivers Edge at Long Level in Wrightsville, PA. We recognize Wendy for her efforts to grow and donate native trees to the Alliance that are then utilized in our reforestation projects.  This truly demonstrates her deep dedication to nature – she is an inspiration for others around the watershed. 

Wendy’s relationship with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay began in 2018 when she was looking for a volunteer opportunity that was specifically related to climate change. So much of what needs to be done to mitigate climate change must happen at the government/industry/global level – it was challenging to find something that one person could do to make a significant difference. 

 She thought that “something” had to involve trees, so when she attended a presentation by Ryan Davis, the Alliance’s Pennsylvania Senior Forest Projects Manager, something clicked.  His depth of knowledge and passion for what he was doing with riparian buffer plantings was exactly what Wendy was looking for.  In his presentation, Ryan mentioned that he sometimes dug up unwanted seedlings and also grew trees from seed and used these in his plantings. She thought, “I could do that – I could dig up the many young seedlings in my yard and garden, and I’d like to try growing some from seeds. And I bet that many of my friends would be interested in doing it too.” So, Wendy contacted Ryan and found that he was working on developing a similar project, and they came up with the Seedling Saver and Growing Trees from Seed pilot projects in Pennsylvania.

Starting in 2019, Wendy and a group of her friends planted and tended the tiny seedling starts, live stakes, and seeds that Ryan provided. During that year, Wendy did a lot of reading and research and talked with as many knowledgeable people as she could to learn about growing trees from seeds. Under Ryan’s guidance, she began collecting native tree seeds and nuts where she lives along the Conodoguinet Creek and storing them for the following year. By the end of the year, she had raised 1200 seedlings.

Now, there are more volunteers than ever, and Wendy’s efforts are on track to have grown approximately 8,500 seedlings!

Thank you, Wendy, for all your hard work!

Join us at the Taste on September 15th at River’s Edge at Long Level as we recognize Wendy for her accomplishments!