Public Spaces & Greening

Great News! 

The York Road Partnership’s Public Spaces & Greening  project, the Govans Urban Forest (GUF), is one of three projects in the Govans area to be chosen to participate in the Cricket Wireless and Rebuilding Together “Connecting Communities” contest. Go to  You can vote to see more details and vote for your favorite today. You can vote once a day every day through August 22nd. The winning organization will get a gift of a fabulous project delivered by Rebuilding Together Baltimore and our volunteers. The “runners up” will also receive a donation.  Everyone wins!

Vote early – Vote often – Vote for GUF at You can vote

The York  Road Partnership’s Public Spaces & Greening Committee (PS&G) is committed to the Complete Streets Model. The PS&G strives to enhance our Corridor  by ensuring the streetscape is attractive and green, and  walkable and safe for pedestrians and cyclists. We work to create and maintain public spaces on the Corridor and in our neighborhoods, and we work to assure mass transit services and facilities are available, accessible and convenient. This committee brings together people with interest in enhancing the appearance of the Corridor through greening, and who have expertise in landscaping, urban ecology and environmental design.

On-going Projects

  • Street Tree Inventory:   We have developed and maintain an inventory of our street trees, treeinventory ,from the city line to 43d St. Street. This inventory helps us initiate yearly requests for the city to remove and replace those trees that have been damaged or are dying. The York Road Corridor is a heavily trafficked gateway corridor and it is a a challenge to maintain healthy trees. We work with our partners to weed and mulch tree pits and prune young trees.
  • Collaboration with Loyola’s York Road Initiative:   On ‘Building Community Day’ and on the Mayors Fall and Spring Clean Up Days, we work with student volunteers to weed and mulch tree pits, stencil storm drains and other projects along the Corridor.
  • Dewees Park:  We are working with the Mid-Govans Neighborhood Association to help implement some of the improvements outlined in the Dewees Park Master Concept Plan . With a grant funded by the Parks & People Foundation, a rain garden was installed to address the run-off from the Dewees Rec Center roof. The Baltimore Orchard Project worked with the community to design and plant a community fruit and nut tree orchard.
  • Govans Urban Forest (GUF): With help from volunteer groups, trash and invasives have been removed from this small protected urban forest. Baltimore Green Space has provided expert advice and guidance for preserving and managing this small urban forest patch located in the 5200 block of York Road.

Spring and Summer 2016   

Dewees Rain Garden

PS&G members Kathy Brohawn and Helene Perry offered a STEM afterschool Raingarden plantingprogram at the Govans Elementary School for 12 fourth grade students. The project focused on the Dewees Raingarden with units on runoff, watersheds, soil types, native plantings and the mechanics of capturing roof runoff.   Raingarden  with GES studentsDesigned by Rain Underground and constructed by Blue Water Baltimore, the project culminated with the students planting over 100 native plants in the newly installed rain garden.

Exciting News – Aug. 26!When we visited the Rain Garden today we saw 7+ Monarch butterfly larvae on the butterfly plants!!Monarch butterfly larvae

Dewees Orchard

Working to implement a piece of the Dewees Park Concept Master Plan,  the Baltimore Orchard Project helped plan and install the start of a neighborhood orchard at the south end of Dewees Park, just uphill from the City Farm on Woodbourne Avenue. As a start, seven trees were planted and a drip irrigation system installed. On October 5th ten residents and volunteers gathered again to install one Green Gage peach tree and five highbush blueberry plants. Blue Water Baltimore has continued to add trees to the Park, and planted three pecan trees close to the Orchard.  We look forward to harvesting fruit, berries and nuts in the not-too-distant- future!

Govans Urban Forest Patch (GUF)

When we began working in GUF there were many invasive vines and non-native trees, especially Norway maples.  Most have been removed and Baltimore Green Space tells us our forest patch is now 93% native trees! Besides restoring GUF to a healthy native forest patch we would also like to see it serve as an opportunity for young people who are living in the  city and may not be able to see different types of trees  or experience the impact of being surrounded by a woodland.

In fall 2015 BGS hosted a Tree ID Workshop where Charlie Davis identified about 100 different species in GUF. Shortly thereafter a group of 6th grade student volunteers from the Mother Seton Academy measured the caliber of these trees.  The project culminated in ‘tagging’ one tree of each species, identifying it with a lovely tag Tree Tags Example that was designed by Katy Lautar of BGS. During our ‘Midsummer’s Eve’ celebration in June, guests were asked to find the trees and hand the tags so now visitors can readily identify various trees. We now have a listing of trees and shrubs  Plants in GUF found in GUF.

During the spring and summer of 2016, volunteer groups came to GUF and helped remove invasive ground ivy.  Central Presbyterian, the Jemecy School, the Friends School of Baltimore, and the Johns Hopkins President’s Day of Service all contributed to clearing and cleaning out the front section of the forest.

And while we mourn the passing of Ernie, our quiet, gentle resident of the forest, we’ve use his passing as an opportunity to both clean out what was his ‘home’ for over 15 years and to continue constructing safe pathways though the west portion of the forest.

It seemed fitting that since the Loyola Rugby team began the major clean up almost 4 years ago, it was also groups of Loyola students who volunteered to begin this second piece of the forest restoration.

Are you interested in joining any of these projects? Contact the  PS&G Committee  for more information.

The Watershed Exploration Tutorial (WET)

While this is neither a GUF  nor a YRP project, we’d like to give a special shout out up and thanks to  Barbara Cutko of the Belvedere Square neighborhood for her lovely Watershed Tutorial project. Barbara designed and implemented a mural with information about our local watersheds, the Jones Falls and Herring Run.  The Tutorial is located on the south wall of the Pharmacy at 5824 York Road, on Orkney Road next to the parking lot used by Senator patrons. Do stop by and take a look!