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Cultivating Sustainability at Floura TeeterZolna Russell

At Floura Teeter Landscape Architects, every day is Earth Day! We are especially fond of the month of April and take every opportunity to celebrate our commitment to our planet. Here are some of the ways we took part in Earth Month:

Megan Maffeo organized Project Clean Stream. An annual event at Floura Teeter, this year we joined Blue Water Baltimore to clean up the shores of the Middle Branch in South Baltimore. Even as a seasoned trash collector, I was shocked to see the number of bottle and Styrofoam containers washed up on the shore. The Styrofoam breaks down into tiny pieces that are impossible to pick up. Even with over 100 bags collected, we hardly made a dent. Our staff came away with a new resolve to reduce our ecological footprints and reduce our waste. One highlight of the day was the discovery of a number of living oysters that we relocated back to their deep water homes.

My son, Griffin, and I joined the Baltimore Tree Trust and a number of other volunteers to plant trees near M & T Bank Stadium and Camden Yards. We planted 75 columnar Sweetgums and Sugar Maples in the parking lot of the stadiums. Planting these balled and burlapped trees took teamwork and we made some new friends and worked hard to get our trees planted properly. A shout out to the Tree Trust for being so organized and making the day a remarkable success! We are looking forward to watching our trees grow as we go out to support the O’s and the Ravens.

Megan also arranged a screening of the documentary, Intelligent Trees. This thought provoking movie interviews two scientists, the German Forester Peter Wohlleben and The University of British Columbia professor, Suzanne Simard. Their work, which measures the transmission of chemicals and nutrients between adjacent trees, finds an intricate communication system between trees in the forest. When these bonds are broken – either by removal of trees or by depletion of the soil biology, the health of the forest community suffers. The findings of these scientists can certainly inform our work as we design plantings in both restoration and urban projects.

We know that a healthy planet is inextricably linked to healthy people, and supporting local communities is an integral part of our practice. Community Grows Here is Floura Teeter’s annual program where we donate pro-bono design services to a local non-profit organization. This year’s recipient is Roland Park Elementary/Middle School (RPEMS). We have been volunteering at RPEMS for many years, but this year, the project is more than gardening. As a result of a roofing project at the school, the gardens and grounds have been severely compromised. The administration and staff at RPEMS are viewing this as an opportunity to take a fresh look at the campus and how it is used. Floura Teeter will facilitate a community Town Hall to re-vision the school grounds as a place which can serve as outdoor classrooms, play spaces, and athletic fields, all in a diverse and rich ecosystem. After the Town Hall, Floura Teeter will put together a Master Plan for the school grounds which will serve to guide restoration of the campus as an amazing resource for both the school and community.

As April turns to May, Floura Teeter continues to demonstrate our commitment to the Earth by supporting our local communities and natural systems through volunteering, improving our knowledge and providing design services to organizations who share that commitment.

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