Sustain B'more

September 2023 | Issue 40

Disaster Preparedness Month, Resiliency Hubs, Free Trees, and more!

Dear Baltimore Office of Sustainability Friends,


National Preparedness Month is an observance each September to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies. This month, our Office wrapped up the public comment period for the 2023 Disaster Preparedness and Planning Project (DP3) update, which is Baltimore’s combined hazard mitigation plan and climate adaptation plan. This plan is critical to ensuring the City is working to reduce the impacts of natural hazards on our communities. Check out the Turtle Tip of the Month for some great reources on how to be prepared for potential risks.


September 15 through October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month. National Hispanic Heritage Month traditionally honors the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans as we celebrate heritage rooted in all Latin American countries. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Mayor Brandon M. Scott, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MIMA), and the Baltimore City Hispanic Commission will recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions in Baltimore's Latino communities. Visit MIMA on social media to read all about it. There also will be events held throughout the City to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Visit this link to learn more. 

Next month, our Office will be seeking public comment on the Climate Action Plan update. To get involved, attend the virtual public meeting on October 4th or review and comment on the plan online. Click here to RSVP for the event or to access the draft plan update between October 1 and October 31, 2023. 

Happy Reading!

Baltimore Office of Sustainability Staff

Community Spotlight

Photo c/o Shanade Wells

Reverend Brenda White -- Allen A.M.E.

This month, we're featuring an organization, and the leader at its helm, that is working to build a more resilient Baltimore. Allen A.M.E. Church has been a community pillar of the Poppleton neighborhood in West Baltimore for over 160 years. The church's pastor, Reverend Brenda White, was appointed to Allen A.M.E. seven years ago and has significantly expanded the community-facing work of the church in the intervening years. At the height of the pandemic, Allen A.M.E., along with their associated community engagement entity Pathway Forward, partnered with World Central Kitchen to provide over 20,000 meals to community members over a 6-month period. Today, the church continues to provide free meals to its local community through a partnership with Paul's Place. For the past 3 years, Pathway Forward has also managed a community garden, with herbs, vegetables, and even fruit trees, that is open to harvest for the whole surrounding community. With the help of Interfaith Partners of the Chesapeake, Pathway Forward has also organized a Green Team to help maintain and beautify the church property and nearby vacant lots.

Last year, after realizing that there was a huge gap in emergency services for West Baltimore neighborhoods, Reverend Brenda White partnered with the Baltimore Office of Sustainability to designate Allen A.M.E. as a Community Resiliency Hub. Baltimore's Community Resiliency Hub Program connects embedded community organizations in climate-vulnerable neighborhoods with emergency resources so that they are able to provide support to their immediate community in the event of an emergency. To increase the resilience of the church, Allen A.M.E. has invested in fridges for medicine storage and a dedicated space for water storage in extreme heat emergencies. Reverend Brenda White is hoping to continue building resiliency by hosting community trainings, such as STOP THE BLEED®, and working with the Office of Sustainability to assess the feasibility of solar and battery for the church. For Reverend Brenda White, this commitment to resiliency is driven by a love of Baltimore and her community. She feels "grateful to be, and to serve, in Baltimore City."

You don’t have to be a climate scientist or city planner to help improve the sustainability and resilience of Baltimore. Everyone has a story to tell about making Baltimore a stronger, safer, and more equitable place. We’ve been collecting stories on our website, and we invite you to share yours with us by posting on social media with the hashtag #EveryStoryCounts and/or by emailing us.

Office Happenings

New Fellow -- Maleik Grier

The Office of Sustainability has welcomed Maleik Grier as our new Community & Youth Engagement Fellow. Maleik is a native of Baltimore and is a graduate student in the School of Social Work at the University of Maryland Baltimore. His career interests span community organizing, policy change, and program management. He will be working with the Office of Sustainability part-time through the spring, supporting our Office's youth and community engagement work. This will include supporting our Youth Environmental Leadership Program interns, contributing to our social media and other outreach efforts, and formalizing the program curriculum for the Youth Environmental Leadership Program and other experiential learning opportunities offered by the Office.

Welcome Maleik!

Baltimore Chosen to Join the Cities Forward Initiative

Baltimore City has been chosen as a participant in the Cities Forward program, a collaborative initiative between the U.S. Department of State, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, Resilient Cities Catalyst, and the Institute of the Americas. Launched at the Cities Summit of the Americas, this program is designed to assist Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and U.S. cities in creating sustainable, inclusive, and resilient futures through project consultation, co-design, and knowledge sharing. Mayor Scott noted, "Baltimore’s selection to participate in the first-ever Cities Forward cohort is ... a statement about our commitment to building a sustainable and resilient city for the future and our eagerness to partner with cities across the globe.” See the full press release here.

Sustainability Highlights

Fall GROW Center Events -- Baltimore DPW

Autumn has officially begun, which means it is time to start prepping your garden for cooler seasons. Each spring and fall, the Department of Public Works hosts GROW Center events that provide free greening resources, giveaways, and workshops. This fall, DPW will be hosting 9 pop-up and workshop events beginning on October 4th and running through early November. Pop-up events provide free trees, mulch, and information, and the workshops are on topics such as composting and home gardening. All workshops provided are free but require registration as space is limited. Please register for the workshops on Eventbrite.


  • Composting Workshop: Wednesday 10/4 from 5:30-6:30pm @ Filbert Street Garden (1317 Filbert St, 21226)
  • Pop-Up: Saturday 10/7 from 9am-12pm @ Broadway East (corner of N. Port and E. Lafayette, 21213)
  • Pop-Up: Thursday 10/12 from 9am-12pm @ The Urban Oasis (2131 N. Dukeland St., 21216)
  • Composting Workshop: Thursday 10/19 from 5:30-6:30pm @ The 6th Branch Community Garden (1310 Hillman St., 21202)
  • Pop-up: Saturday 10/21 from 9am-12pm @ The Mighty Park (3000 blk Stafford St, 21223)
  • Composting Workshop: Monday 10/23 from 5-6pm @ Cahill Recreation Center (4001 Clifton Ave, 21216)
  • Home Gardening Online Workshop: Thursday 10/26 from 5-6pm
  • Pop-up: Saurday 10/28 from 8am-12pm @ Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (1400 W Cold Spring Ln. 21209)
  • Pop-up: Sunday 11/5 from 8am-12pm @ Pimlico Training Center (Manhattan Ave & Clover Rd., 21215)

Baltimore Regional Water Governance Task Force

Created by an act of the General Assembly, the Baltimore Regional Water Governance Task Force is charged with making recommendations to modernize the governance of the region’s water and wastewater utilities. The task force is holding a series of public meetings this fall and will submit their final recommendations to the Governor, Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, the Mayor of Baltimore City and the County Executive of Baltimore County by January 2024. Find out more about the task force and upcoming public meeting dates or check out this video where Comptroller Bill Henry explains more about the Baltimore Regional Water Governance Task Force.

Free Trees for City Residents!

TreeBaltimore is partnering with local businesses and organizations this fall to provide yard trees for city residents! Up to two trees can be reserved per household for pickup at over 10 locations throughout the city. Pickup events run from 9/23 to 11/4. Check out the TreeBaltimore website to select your species and pickup location/date. Please note that these trees are intended for front or back yards, not for tree pits in the public right of way. Sizes range from 1-3 gallon pots. There is limited stock left, so be sure to reserve your trees today!

What We Are Reading

Books + Articles our Staff are Reading

Laurel Peltier Took On Multi-Million Dollar Private Energy Companies Scamming Baltimore’s Low-Income Households, One Victim at a Time -- Inside Climate News

"'When I looked at her bill, it made my blood boil,” Peltier said of McFadden’s case. “It looks like she’s been paying her bills. The real reason she got a turn-off notice is that her account is on a third-party supplier called IDT, charging her a much higher rate. And she was completely unaware of it,' she said."

Adversity to Advancement: 15 Climate Impacts & 45 Black-Led Pathways to Climate Justice -- Jacqui Patterson, The Chisholm Legacy Project

"This paper lays out the myriad ways that Black communities are differentially impacted by the perpetrators of climate change, while also demonstrating that Black communities are leading holistic, comprehensive areas of focus and approaches necessary to advance a Just Transition. By laying out the content in categories reflecting issue areas, as well as diverse approaches, this lengthy yet merely illustrative list demonstrates that it’s not just what we do; it is also how we do it."

Local Opportunities
Events + Volunteering

  • Fall 2023 GROW Center Pop-ups and Workshops - Various times and locations, September - November. The GROW Center, which stands for Green Resources & Outreach for Watersheds, is a program of the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) that functions as a resource hub and connector with the goal of building community capacity to implement greening, stormwater management, waste reduction, and beautification projects. DPW’s Fall GROW Center season will feature five pop-up events and five free workshops.

  • Real Food Farm Community Volunteer Opportunities - Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at various times and locations. Real Food Farm has opportunities available for volunteers to assist with hands-on farm projects and packing and delivering produce boxes for the Affordable Produce Delivery Program.

  • Weed Warriors Volunteer Events - Various dates and locations. Help restore our urban forest through the removal of invasive plants. See the link for registration and details.

  • Yale Forest Forum - Understanding Climate Smart Forestry in Practice - Various days and times, September - November, online. The Yale Forest Forum is offering a Fall 2023 Speaker Series Webinar entitled "Understanding Climate-Smart Forestry in Practice." The series will feature speakers from public-sector organizations like the U.S. Forest Service, nonprofits, researchers, and academics from across the U.S., as well as “on-the-ground” practitioners.

  • Virtual How’s The Water, Hon? - Tuesday, September 26th, from 5:30-6:30pm. Join Blue Water Baltimore in this recurring discussion of Baltimore’s underlying stormwater and sewage problems.

  • BTT presents Community Conversations: Environmental Justice - Thursday, September 28th at 7:30pm at B. Willow. Join Baltimore Tree Trust Communications and Outreach Director Ryan Alston and Dr. Amanda Phillips de Lucas, Executive Director of the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance, for a discussion centered on historical examples of environmental racism in Baltimore and present-day obstacles to achieving environmental equality.

  • Walktober Events and Webinars - Various times and locations. Every October, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and other partnering agencies promote and host events and webinars spotlighting Maryland pedestrians' safety, health, and commuting options in current walk programs and Initiatives.

  • Farm Alliance of Baltimore Field Day - Wednesday, October 4th from 6-8pm at Blue Light Junction. This upcoming Farm Alliance farm field day event covers growing plants for natural dyeing. Field day events are free for Farm Alliance Members, BBUFA, FHCASA, ECO City, and Acres4Change Trainees. $15 for the public.

  • Beyond the Grave - Reducing Your End of Life Impact with Alternatives to Burials - Thursday, October 5th at 7pm, online. In recent years, there has been a newfound concern over the negative effect of traditional burials on the environment and clear issues over land conservation. Join Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake in taking a deep dive Beyond the Grave and discussing burial alternatives that will help reduce your end-of-life impact.

Funding + Jobs
  • Job Opportunities: Baltimore City Government - The City has many job openings available including several roles that involve coordination with the Office of Sustainability - City Forestry Supervisor with the Department of Recreation and Parks, Planner II with the Department of Transportation, Comprehensive Plan Community Aide with the Department of Planning, and Program Manager for Weatherization with the Department of Housing and Community Development.


  • Job Opportunities: Clean Corps - Civic Works is hiring Clean Corps team members to maintain vacant lots and alleys in the Druid Heights, Harlem Park, Penn North, Sandtown-Winchester, and Upton communities.


  • Job Opportunities: Parks & People - Parks & People is hiring for several positions including a Vice President of Development & Finance, Director of Park Projects, Design & Construction Project Manager, and Communications Manager.


  • Young Professionals of Color Class of 2023-2024 - The Young Professionals of Color (YPC) Mentorship Program enables BIPOC communities working in the environmental field to achieve their career goals while closing the racial diversity gap that exists within the Chesapeake Bay restoration movement.


  • Keep Maryland Beautiful Grant Program - Deadline: November 15. This grant program is a partnership between the Chesapeake Bay Trust, Maryland Environmental Trust, Maryland Department of Agriculture, and Maryland Department of Transportation and funds community stewardship projects and capacity building for land trusts.

Turtle Tip of the Month

Personal Preparedness

National Preparedness Month is a great time to make sure you're proactive and prepared for emergencies, as they can happen at any time. It has long been advised to change the batteries in your smoke detectors when the time changes in the fall. For those already taking that step, try habit stacking to keep yourself and your family prepared for other emergencies that could arise. Make use of, an incredible resource for finding a variety of checklists to prepare for disasters specific to your family's needs. There are resources for those who live with older adultspets and animals, and people with disabilities. The site also provides general information on how to build an emergency preparedness kit as well as safety skills like knowing how to shut off utilities, how to use a fire extinguisher, and more.  


Another valuable resource can be found through OSHA. They provide disaster-specific guidance on how to prepare. Especially helpful this time of year are the resources on flooding and winter weather. Spending just a little time to arm yourself with information and knowing where to go with questions or needs could be invaluable in an emergency. 

We Love Feedback

Tell us what you want to hear! Do you have ideas on newsletter content? Or would you like to nominate an organization or person to be featured? Email us at [email protected].
Our Mission

The Office of Sustainability develops and advocates for programs and policies that improve Baltimore's long-term environmental, social, and economic viability.

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Baltimore, MD 21202

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Lead Editor: Aubrey Germ, Climate and Resilience Planner

Newsletter Contributors: Joanna Birch, Floodplain Manager; Aubrey Germ, Climate and Resilience Planner; Amy Gilder-Busatti, Sustainability Manager; Maleik Grier, Community and Youth Engagement Fellow; Grace Hansen, Coastal Planner; Ava Richardson, Sustainability Director; Valerie Rupp, Climate and Resilience Program Manager; Rachel Whiteheart, Environmental Planner