Howard EcoWorks is currently hosting a native plant sale through its website, howardecoworks.org, to raise funds for Seeds of Change. Customers can pick up their pre-ordered plants on Friday, October 9 and Saturday, October 10, 2020 between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and have an opportunity to view the Seeds of Change plant nursery. The nursery and plant sale pick up is located on the grounds (outside of the enclosure) of the Howard County Department of Corrections at 7301 Waterloo Road, Jessup, Md., 20794.  In lieu of purchasing plants, donations for the program can be made directly on EcoWorks’ website.

Plants for sale include a variety of flowers and shrubs that are native to Howard County, as well as the popular Guild Starter Kits, some of which have sold out. Guild Starter Kids include a selection of companion perennials designed to be planted with a fruit producing shrub in order to enhance soil fertility and attract beneficial insects.

Plant sale proceeds benefit Seeds of Change, an environmental and workforce development program at the Howard County Department of Corrections. This program began in 2016 when EcoWorks established an on-site native plant nursery operation where inmates learn about nursery operation and plant propagation. The plants are used in EcoWorks’ environmental restoration projects around the County. The hands-on component is complemented by a sustainable landscaping curriculum. In 2019, 10 inmates graduated from the program with certificates. This low-cost, high return on investment program develops job skills and helps reduce recidivism.  The program is supported in part by Howard County Government.  Says Howard County Executive Calvin Ball of the program, “The innovative Seeds of Change program provides inmate education program and vocational training to improves their future job prospects, and is one of many diverse enrichment activities we provide to meet our goal of reduced recidivism,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “Thanks to Howard EcoWorks and their collaboration, this annual native plant sale provides residents an incredible opportunity to support Seeds of Change and move Howard County towards a cleaner and more sustainable environment.”

“Our annual plant sale accomplishes three goals: first, it allows an opportunity for members of the public and potential partners to come to our Jessup nursery to see first-hand the exceptional work of the Seeds of Change participants,” explains EcoWorksExecutive Director Lori Lilly. “Secondly, it raises funds to continue this high impact program, which imparts valuable skills that inmates can use to find work upon their release. Psychology and neuroscience research shows that nature-based therapy is restorative.  Even brief exposure to nature can help to improve physical and mental health and promote cooperative behavior and pro-social values – providing rehabilitative activities to inmates can counteract the bleak, overcrowded, chaotic, and isolating conditions of prison.  The icing on the cake is that these plants and guilds that are native to our region. ‘Greening’ our region with sustainable, native plants improves its overall ecological health.”

To purchase a plant or find more information, visit HowardEcoWorks.org.

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Scott E

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