What We Do:
SLE organizes and leads tree plantings with local community members, organizations and businesses. With the help of volunteers, we plant native trees and shrubs within the area known as the riparian zone, the land that extends from the banks of a stream. A healthy riparian zone benefits a stream in many ways, including the following: 
  • Placing a riparian zone between a pollution source and a stream can greatly improve the quality of the water in the stream. Acting as a filter, the trees remove the sediment and pollutants that flow from surface and subsurface runoff. 

  • Dense vegetation of native plants along the side of a stream supplies shade, which helps maintain a healthy stream temperature.

  • A healthy riparian zone will slow the flow of water entering a stream. Water has a better chance to soak into the soil, recharging the groundwater as it travels through the layers of sticks and leaves of a forest.

  • Trees stabilize the soil and prevent erosion, which can cause an excess of sediment entering a stream. Sediment can choke a stream bottom and make it difficult for aquatic organisms to survive. With a healthy riparian zone, aquatic organisms are provided food and habitat.

Beside the ecological value of tree plantings, a reforested area can increase property value and provide an aesthetically pleasing landscape. At SLE, we recognize the importance of integrating education into our conservation projects. Volunteers will walk away from a planting not only feeling good about their contribution, but also understanding the importance of their effort.

Stream-Link is so grateful for the hard work of our volunteers to help reforest Frederick County. After the volunteer events, we are committed to doing maintenance on each site for 3 years. We promise to work hard to make sure your trees stay healthy and survive…and your hard work pays off! Maintenance includes coming back to the site 6-8 times per year, depending on the site.

Maintenance duties include:
  • Mowing: We mow the site to keep invasive vines from climbing up the trees. Also, voles are little rodents that like to burrow in tall grass and nibble on the base of the trees which kills them over time.
  • Straightening stakes and shelters: We hammer in those stakes again if needed so the trees stake up right and protected.
  • Feeding: a tablespoon of tree food is dropped into each shelter twice a year, fertilizing the root system. The shelters help to keep the food centralized at the base of the trees. *This is necessary for the first 3 years to get those trees established and maintaining a healthy and growing root system which ultimately is what reduces sediment erosion and improves water quality.
  • Mulching: We apply and re-apply mulch to some areas of the planting that aren’t getting enough water during the summer. The mulch helps to retain moisture.
  • Pruning: trimming some trees helps them grow taller and faster. For example: When a branch is pulled down by a deer and not completely broken off, the tree still send energy through that limb to continue producing leaves, but it ultimately is a waste of energy. Clipping that off transferred more energy back to the healthy branches. Also, clipping some of the low hanging branches will prevent deer from eating the leaves.