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Tree Painting Gone Awry: How Maryland Environmentalists Changed The Government

On October 1, the Baltimore County Council passed legislation for the county’s environmental director to oversee project proposals that could harm wildlife in parks throughout the county.
This came as a result of around 50 trees being painted in Oregon Ridge Park as an advocacy mission.

Painting trees seemed like an innocent enough venture; not only will advocates for the fight against addiction raise awareness and celebrate survivors, it would also add an artistic flair to the Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville.

However, environmentalists were having none of it.

The volunteer nature council and the environmental advisory for the county brought the issue to the county officials who previously okayed the project. It was revealed that the Department of Recreation and Parks for the county gave the project the green light without prior consultation with environmental groups of the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability.

Though well-meaning, painting trees can have disastrous effects on local flora and fauna. The trees themselves would not be able to pass necessary gasses through their bark, endangering their health.

The Forest Of Hope project was well-intended but poorly implemented. Retired science teacher, Patricia Ghingher, claims the paint can last more than 20 years on the trees.

This means that countless walkers, hikers, and bikers will see the paint for years to come. When over 44% of American households own a dog, these woods are well-trodden.

In response to the outcry from environmentalists, the legislation passed the bill, six to one, that requires the park director to filter projects through the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability before approval is granted.

Folks in Maryland will already see a shift in tree behavior this fall. Because Baltimore has seen near-record amounts of rain this year, the beautiful fall foliage may be short-lived.

In some areas, you may not see the dazzling change in foliage at all.

Maryland has experienced an estimated 52 inches of rain since January first, around 21 inches higher than normal. Because the high volume of rain has continued into the fall, the leaves are browning faster than normal.

“All of this precipitation, it’s really pushed a lot of that, so we’re seeing a lot of trees, like the cherries and the dogwoods, are dropping their leaves early and you’re going to lose a lot of fall color,” claimed Arborist, Randy Bernstein.

This could pose a problem for saplings who are struggling to mature under the dredge of water.

It takes most hardwoods between 40 and 60 years to mature; should this trend continue, this might take even longer if the trees survive at all.

For environmentalists, however, the current crop of trees will be protected under the new law from human projects starting on October 15.

Because a new county executive is set to be elected in November, this bill safeguards any future problems so a project like this won’t occur in the future.

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