Holy Communion Lutheran Church Tree Planting

What is polluted runoff?

Parts of the Chesapeake Bay watershed contain a high percentage of impervious cover – paved or other hard surfaces such as roofs and roadways that prevent rain water from being absorbed into the ground.  Instead, water runs along these surfaces, collecting trash and substances such as motor oil, lawn fertilizers, and pesticides.  This polluted stormwater flows into streams and rivers, where it threatens aquatic ecosystems and public health.   Effective stormwater management, on the other hand, creates safe paths for polluted runoff to be captured and filtered through the ground before it reaches waterways.  This helps keep the environment clean and our communities healthy!

urban tree planting
before image
Forty church volunteers plant trees. Credit: Dave Warren, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.
after image
Volunteers dig holes for new trees. Credit: Dave Warren, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.


Project location: Fallston, MD

Problem: Holy Communion Lutheran Church in Fallston had a turf lawn that was providing minimal stormwater management or water quality benefits.

Solution:  Recognizing the role that trees play in air and water quality protection, carbon uptake, cooling and beautification, Holy Communion determined to convert its lawn to forest.  Working with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, church leaders designed a planting plan comprised entirely of native species.  Roughly 40 volunteers helped with the planting, with guidance from the Alliance.  Volunteers also participated in a spiritually-based educational program led by Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake that helped congregants understand the moral imperative to care for Creation, the symbolism and importance of trees in Biblical scripture, and how to relate these faith messages to living sustainably in everyday lives.  Church members and staff will conduct ongoing watering and maintenance of the trees. 

Scale: 90+ trees

Pollutants removed: 4.71 lbs/yr nitrogen;.19 lbs/yr phosphorous; .0155 tons/yr sediment

Funding sources: Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Partners: Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay; Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake

More information: https://www.interfaithchesapeake.org/tree_planting_program


Contact Information
Jodi Rose | Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake | jodi@interfaithchesapeake.org | 410-609-6852
Key project facts
Project Type
Tree Planting
Project Scale
< $10,000
Story Focus
Cost Efficiency
Community Engagement
Stormwater Funds
Problem Addressed
Year Installed
State Legislative District
Federal Legislative District