RHIC's commitment to greening combines urban planning with community organizing to create a healthier social, political, and physical environment for residents. More than 100 residents actively contribute to executing Reservoir Hill’s Master Green Plan, which includes annual goals of lowering energy consumption by 15%, increasing the tree canopy by 15%, recruiting 100 new households to recycle, expanding two community gardens, and rehabilitating vacant lots into productive community spaces.
Past RHIC staff members Erin Bowman, Teddy Krolik, & Eli Lopatin were crucial in accomplishing this plan through recruitment of volunteers to be part of RHIC's "Green Team."
RHIC organized and recruited residents into the Green Team to participate in neighborhood greening projects, including community gardens, Whitelock Community Farm, clean-ups, and general community work days.
RHIC maintained a John Eager Howard Elementary School as a Maryland Green School, leading weekly after-school environmental science club meetings and assisting with healthy cooking classes at John Eager Howard Recreation Center.
RHIC working with Blue Water Baltimore planted more than 200 trees in Reservoir Hill from 2009-2014. RHIC’s “Tree Stewards” program promoted tree maintenance activities for residents living near street trees, updated RHIC’s neighborhood tree inventory, and coordinated community tree planting projects. Check out our interactive tree map here!
RHIC’s “Flip the Power” youth-art energy conservation and outreach project used comic strips, stickers, and other promotional materials to help residents save money on their energy bill, and contribute toward John Eager Howard's “Energy Hub” initiatives.
In 2007, RHIC created the neighborhood’s Green Master Plan to provide a general framework for community greening activities, ranging from vacant lot rehabilitation goals to energy conservation objectives.
Since then, Green Team accomplishments include:
Sponsoring a neighborhood recycling program in 2008-2009 that recruited over 250 residents;
Leading a 2009-2010 Baltimore Neighborhood Energy Challenge project that decreased energy use by 11.2% in 100 participating households;
Planting more than 400 trees to increase the neighborhood tree canopy by 40%;
Improving approximately 50,000 square feet of public space since 2011;
Whitelock Community Farm pioneering a model for community supported agriculture to grow more than 10,000 pounds of produce in its first four years.
In just the past three years, our work has been featured twice on the front page of the Baltimore Sun, covered by MIT’s Community Innovators Lab, Channel 11 News, WJZ Channel 13, WYPR 88.1 FM, Baltimore City Paper, Urbanite, and the Marc Steiner Show, and Whitelock Community Farm was recognized by Parks & People Foundation’s 2011 “Community Anchor Award." In 2012, Baltimore Community Foundation selected Reservoir Hill as one of two City neighborhoods to highlight with increased funding and support. In 2013, Chesapeake Bay Trust selected Reservoir Hill as the host site for its press conference with Governor Martin O'Malley and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announcing the creation of the Green Streets-Green Jobs-Green Towns Grant Program.