For our Girl Scout Silver Award, we wanted to do something both fun and productive.  An obvious issue today would be the environment–air pollution, global warming, littering, and other concerns. While it would be nice to stop global warming, or filter the harmful chemicals out of the air, these things are way out of reach at the moment.  However, simple steps could be taken towards helping the environment, such as planting trees, or a stream clean up.

Why do a Stream Clean Up?

With all of the factories today polluting the environment, trash and harmful things are in streams and lakes, even oceans. Even in local streams people can see the negative effects of trash and pollution. To address this issue, one simple step came to mind–a stream clean up.  A stream clean up, while simple, can positively impact the environment in a big way.  Even if just one animal was saved, it would still be worth it. Trash in even local streams can ruin water supplies. By removing this trash, this helps not only the animals, but people as well.

Where was the Stream Clean Up?

To help our local streams and wildlife, we cleaned up a portion of Patapsco River. The Patapsco River is an important place because it is not only local, but part of a larger body of water.  The Patapsco River actually feeds into the Chesapeake Bay, which eventually feeds into the Atlantic Ocean. If all of just even Patapsco were polluted and trash- filled, the Chesapeake Bay would share a portion of that trash. From there, it would travel to the Atlantic Ocean.

When actually cleaning up the trash, we found that a main issue was not the plastic bottles, or small pieces of litter, but more of larger items. While we still found a great deal of small pieces of trash, we found more large objects, such as plastic chairs, tires, and pieces of broken metal. We even found some unique items, including a large rug and an antique doll that had gotten ruined by the stream. We believe most of these objects were left over from the 2016 flood in Historic Ellicott City, and over a year later remained there.  Due to the many cars were washed into the river, tires and metal were littered everywhere. When removed, some even contained crayfish, or fish that had been living there.  This can eventually be damaging if toxins or harmful chemicals are in the metal, because the fish have been living in whatever trash was there.

A total of 16 people came to the stream clean up, and the trash we collected filled over 10 large trash bags, as well as 8 large items (that wouldn’t fit in the bags). The clean up itself took about 3 hours. After that, we arranged for pickup and the trash was organized into groups for size.  Most participants were surprised at the amount of trash gathered considering the size of the area that we were working with. Luckily, many of the people participating enjoyed that they got a chance to help out their community and environment. One participant stated: “It felt good to know that I was productively helping and improving the environment for my community.”

And Special Thanks To …

We’d like to thank The Cycle Mill for acting as our ‘home base’ in the cleanup and The Patapsco Heritage Greenway for providing supplies and information on the area, along with Trees for Sacred Places (Alliance for the Bay) for providing additional supplies and pickup services for the trash. Finally, we’d like to thank all of our volunteers for helping us clean, and our Troop Leaders for providing us with support and guidance.

What We Learned …

This project helped us with our organizational skills, and it felt amazing to put something together that is truly our own. We also found that it does not take much effort to make a change in your community, and even though something may appear to have no problems, you really need to get your hands dirty before you can be sure.

The Patapsco Heritage Greenway is a non-profit 501c3 organization dedicated to preserving, protecting, interpreting, and restoring the environment, history and culture of Maryland’s Patapsco Valley between Daniels and Elkridge. The organization seeks an experienced, goal-oriented individual to serve as Executive Director. The successful candidate will have proven leadership abilities and strong communication skills, and assist the Board of Directors to develop and implement initiatives, working under the approved Management Plan for the Patapsco Heritage Area.

Community outreach is of paramount importance and the selected individual will be expected to cultivate, develop and maintain strong, positive, collaborative community relations among a broad scope of stakeholders including representatives from key advisory organizations, community and corporate partners, government entities, grantors and grantees, and volunteers.

This is a full time, salaried position, salary range $53,000-$63,000, which requires some weekend and evening hours. The work schedule is flexible and some duties may be performed from a home. The Executive Director reports to the Patapsco Heritage Board of Directors and immediately to the Board chair.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Developing strategies and mechanisms to implement the Patapsco Heritage Area Management Plan in concert with the Board of Directors,
  • Pursuing grant opportunities for the organization and overseeing collection of grant applications and performance data for evaluation, strategic review and reporting purposes.
  • Overseeing implementation of a marketing plan to brand the organization and the Heritage Area. Overseeing, coordinating and/or creating the promotional efforts and materials that raise awareness of the organization, its activities and the Heritage Area through a variety of communication mediums.
  • Developing and implementing fundraising strategies that include recruitment and retention of corporate sponsors and members, as well as planning and coordinating special event campaigns.
  • Managing the daily operation of the organization working, overseeing preparation and submission of required legal and tax documents, maintenance of official records and documents, and preparing regular reports to the Board.
  • Maintaining regular communication with stakeholders including updates to the organization’s website and social media outlets, and writing media releases.
  • Overseeing recruitment and development of staff, volunteers and intern programs to support the Management Plan
  • Overseeing and managing the State Heritage area management grant.

Minimum Qualifications:

Five years of experience in a leadership position. Past responsibilities should include a combination of organizational development and experience with fundraising, grant writing, fiscal management, government and community relations, and marketing and promotional planning. Knowledge of cultural heritage, historic preservation, environmental sustainability and stewardship, land use, planning, and State and other grants is desired. A familiarity with northern Howard County and southwestern Baltimore County will be considered beneficial.


To Apply:

Interested individuals should email a resume along with a cover letter to Patapsco Heritage Greenway Director Selection co-chair Kathy Younkin at

All applications must be emailed by October 25, 2017. Applications received after this deadline will not be considered.








The Patapsco Heritage Area (PHA), a certified heritage area encompassing parts of Baltimore and Howard County, announces its mini-grant program for projects to be completed in FY18.

PHA is offering competitive mini-grants from $500 to $2500 for heritage sites, non-profits and local governments for programs and projects within the boundaries of the Heritage Area. Eligible projects will include new and innovative programs, exhibits, tours, events and other heritage tourism-related initiatives consistent with the goals of the Management Plan (available at

PHA will host a workshop for prospective mini-grant and Maryland Heritage Area (MHAA) grant applicants on Thursday September 28, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at our offices located at 3748 Old Columbia Pike, Ellicott City Maryland 21043. Letters of Intent are due for MHAA grants in January. MHAA awards up to $50,000 in matching funds for non-capital grants and up to $100,000 in matching funds for capital grants. More information about these grants is available on their website.

At the workshop, we will review eligibility, the application process, and tips for creating a competitive application. Attendance by organizations submitting grants is strongly encouraged. Click here to register for this event.

The grant guidelines and application are posted online at, or click here for more information. Applications are due to PHA on October 23, 2017.

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