Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2015 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Baltimore Earth Stewardship Initiative Demonstration Project
Felson, Alex
Co-Authors: Tiffany Carey, Caroline Dumont, Grace Castillo and ESI fellows

Abstract: The Earth Stewardship Initiative demonstration project brings together city managers, designers, community leaders and ecologists to envision the future of Baltimore’s people and neighborhoods, infrastructure and ecosystems. The program is part of the Society of America’s (ESA) Earth Stewardship Initiative and is organized to coincide with and harness the ESA’s Centennial meeting in in Baltimore, Maryland. The project extends from the successful first Earth Stewardship Initiative (ESI) Demonstration project initiated last year in Sacramento, California. This year’s initiative sought to link community perspectives on neighborhoods, green space, and environmental stewardship with urban ecological researchers interested in studying and shaping urban environments and strengthening communities. Teams included Baltimore City officials, the Parks & People Foundation, Baltimore Waters, Baltimore Ecosystem Study scientists, and professional firms seeking to incorporate ecological science into a community-based planning, education, and outreach process. Teams added value to ongoing green infrastructure projects through a series of steps that brought together ecological research experiments with community planning and urban ecosystems functioning. The values and obstacles of this approach revealed through this demonstration project can be used to inform future efforts to pursue earth stewardship and develop integrated efforts toward ecosystem resilience and human health in Baltimore. ESI Fellows, ecology and design students from around North America, played an essential role within a multidisciplinary framework of local practitioners, stakeholders, and community-based groups to contribute to actual planning projects. Following this summer effort we are running a fall course at Yale, where we hope to improve implementable plans to enhance resiliency, promote biodiversity and habitats, while engaging in revitalization efforts and supporting community health, education, and outreach objectives.