Join us on May 4 to celebrate Baltimore’s first preserved community forest! Fairwood Forest is a beautiful 4-acre forest with more than 20 species of native trees, and a strong community that has rallied around it. We’re so excited to celebrate the preservation of 3 acres of this woods.
For years, residents in northeast Baltimore have cherished Fairwood Forest, enjoying adventures in nature, studying the biodiversity, and caring for its health.
Throughout this time, the privately owned land was under threat of development. With support from Baltimore Green Space and Glenham-Belhar Community Association, the residents responded: they organized stewardship and raised funds, so that Baltimore Green Space was able to secure more than 3 acres in 2018. This created the first community-preserved urban forest in Baltimore City.
This preservation project is special for Baltimore Green Space – and not only because it is our first forest preservation. The project has required the whole range of our skills and services. For example, in 2014, we worked with the community to make the case for why the land is not developable, and worked with Councilman Brandon Scott, who delivered this information to the out-of-town developer. The Forestry Division told us that our approach – to identify barriers to development before the first tree comes down – was innovative. It seemed common-sense to us!
Since then, we have helped community members learn to care for the woods and get their neighbors to events. Participation in both fun events and stewardship activities has increased substantially, and this is the foundation that makes it possible for Baltimore Green Space to protect the land.
Since 2015, we have worked with Baltimore City’s Department of Finance to develop a property tax exemption that applies to land such as Fairwood Forest. This exemption recognizes the important role that community-managed land and natural areas play in supporting the social and environmental health of communities. It also makes this preservation project affordable.
Finally, we negotiated with two land-owners who were willing to donate the land, and completed the transactions. We are very grateful to Chimes and to Sapero Realty. We’re looking forward to a long, long partnership with the Friends of Fairwood Forest and the Glenham-Belhar Community Association.
On May 4 we will mark this milestone with a fun and educational celebration, and we’ll honor the people who made it happen for the trees, for the wildlife, and for future generations.
Activities will include:
- Tree giveaway with Blue Water Baltimore & TreeBaltimore
- Hands-on exploration with Natural History Society of Maryland
- Mist netting demonstrations with Fairwood’s researchers
- Birdwatching with expert birders
- Meet the ivy-grazing goats
- Hikes & scavenger hunts
- Children’s crafts