BALTIMORE COUNTY— The Gunpowder Valley Conservancy is celebrating 30 years of educating and mobilizing people and resources to preserve and restore the lands and waterways of the Gunpowder watershed.
Founder of the GVC, Ed Stuebing, said GVC was created to stop a developer from reconstructing land in Kingsville to build homes.
“This developer did not have a reputation of having environmentally sensitive developments,” Stuebing said. “So we were told to get a local land trust to keep the land from being used for residential purposes.”
So Stuebing held a meeting on December 6th, 1989 where he initiated the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy’s broad mission of land preservation, watershed restoration, and education. That same year, the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy secured its first conservation easement in the Prettyboy Reservoir area. Since then, the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy has preserved over 1,600 acres of land in the Gunpowder watershed and plans to preserve 3,000 acres of land by 2025.
Tree plantings, stream cleanups, conservation garden workshops, storm drain stenciling, canoe river cleanups, public forums, and educational workshops are some of the ways the GVC works to preserve and restore the watershed. In order to fund their mission, the GVC is hosting its annual fundraiser this Saturday and will be honoring the 2019 “Hero of the Green”, Charlie Conklin, for his three decades of service to the GVC.
Conklin began working with the GVC 29 years ago after he decided to volunteer with the first Gunpowder Falls clean up.
“It was so successful. We pulled up all kinds of junk,” Conklin said. “Then I went to a stream committee meeting in the spring of 1990 because my wife and I were very interested in the streams and I was so impressed at how organized it was.”
Conklin said he is honored to be give the “Hero of the Green” award but credits his success to the GVC.
“The reason I’m the Hero of the Green is because the GVC is such an amazing place to work. This weekend isn’t about me, its about the GVC.”
Conklin said one of GVC’s most successful projects is the Clear Creeks project in Middle River.
In just one river clean up, GVC volunteers cleaned up 2,050 pounds of trash, car tires, several different large appliances, and even some shopping carts.
This year, the GVC received grant funding to expand its Clear Creek project into Middle River, Tidal Gunpowder, Bird River, and Lower Gunpowder Falls watersheds.
Since 2013, the Clear Creeks Project has installed 256 rain barrels, 104 conservation gardens, removed 46,507 pounds of trash from streams, planted 2,112 trees on 16.68 acres and engaged 3,385 volunteers in watershed restoration activities.