| For 20 years, Audubon Society of Central Maryland (ASCM) has been cultivating scientific inquiry, nourishing a sense of wonder, and strengthening community roots through its Schoolyard Habitat Grant Program.
In 2001, three 5th grade students, including the daughter of ASCM board member Julie Dunlap, wrote the first application in an effort to create a pollinator garden at Dasher Green Elementary School. Since then, the program has supported 36 projects across the chapter’s territory. The projects, sited at schools, libraries, and nature centers, range from wildlife habitat plantings to pollinator and rain gardens to bluebird nest box trails.
Each year, ASCM offers between one and three grants of $500 each to public and private schools, as well as other educational organizations. The projects created through this special program engage students, educators, and the community in meaningful ways that emphasize local action and large-scale impact.
Coming full circle, the chapter received a grant application this year from one of those three 5th graders. You guessed it, Julie’s daughter, Hannah Vogel (who also served on the ASCM board for six years). Hannah’s successful application, through an online nonprofit called Oakland Mills Online, secured funds through the program to purchase native plants for a pandemic-inspired outdoor classroom at her alma mater, Oakland Mills High School. This project, along with so many others around ASCM’s chapter territory, directly impacts wildlife through enhanced habitat, while simultaneously sparking conversation and encouraging action related to biodiversity, habitat loss, and climate change.
Congratulations to ASCM for two decades of making the world a better place through education, engagement, and empowerment!