Sarah Schmid, Corporate Giving Manager
I RECENTLY HAD THE CHANCE to help with an American Forests’ Community ReLeaf planting in Baltimore’s Carrollton Ridge neighborhood. Being a relatively new employee at American Forests, I was very excited to get my hands dirty and see first-hand the impact our programs have in an urban community.
As we drove through the area, I couldn’t help but notice all of the beautiful Baltimore rowhouses. The historic architecture speaks to the culture of the city, but the neighborhood was really lacking green space. Luckily, we had a big group to help solve that problem.
More than 30 employees from American Forests, Bank of America and Baltimore Parks and Recreation came out to help create and fill planter boxes and plant trees around the block. At the center of our inspirational day was Carrollton Ridge Community Association’s president, Cynthia Tensley.
Cynthia has been a longtime Carrollton Ridge resident, and it is evident she has the passion for continuing to make her neighborhood a warm and inviting space for everyone. She was happy to talk to anyone who would listen about the history of the neighbor- hood and the close-knit community that has been created.
The neighbors took notice of our work as well. Many of them stopped by during the planting to ask about the work we were doing. They were very grateful and are really looking forward to having an outdoor community space to gather.
I left the planting physically tired, but mentally rejuvenated and inspired. Being able to interact with the residents that will get to enjoy this space really inspires you to push through the fatigue and continue helping more communities like Carrollton Ridge. American Forests’ mission of creating healthy and resilient forests in cities creates benefits such as cooling the summer heat and filtering urban pollutants. But, as I saw that morning, it also creates a focal point that helps the community grow together and become even more invested in their neighborhood. I look forward helping American Forests continue this great work in communities all over the country.