2022 Small Grants/Big Impact Awards
Fifteen Maryland State Parks projects were awarded grants that focused on conservation, environmental education or outdoor recreation. The grants awarded total $25,840. We were able to increase funding by 90% because of small donations from state park supporters like you.
Assateague Island State Park (2 projects)
The first project will continue on creating pollinator habitat through the park. The second project will demonstrate an alternative energy demonstration campsite that will replace a generator with green energy options.
Deep Creek Lake State Park
Upgrade interpretive signage at the Discovery Center to connect exhibits at the center with the county amenities. New signs will include text in braille to compliment the Sensory Trail at the park.
Gambrills State Park
Developing a new Camp Out program to provide camper kits to local community members interested in learning to camp.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park
Creating a new legacy garden that will educate visitors to the flora and fauna that was present during the time Harriet Tubman lived. Besides interpretive panels, Park Rangers will provide guided hikes.
Janes Island State Park
Construct two new “Inspiration” garden areas. One will feature an oyster garden using “Taylor” style floats and the other will feature native plants on a raised bed.
North Point State Park
Construct a native plant garden that will demonstrate best conservation practices.
Pocomoke River State Park
Construct enclosures for the enrichment and well-being of birds of prey housed in the park’s aviary.
Rocky Gap State Park
Complete renovations at the park’s nature center that will improve interpretive exhibits and increase access.
Sandy Point State Park
Build new lifeguard stands that will include signage to communicate public safety messages in English and Spanish.
Sang Run State Park
Complete renovations to the Election House. Installing signage and interpretive panels will bridge formal and informal school field trips.
South Mountain State Park
Install two new food storage poles to secure food from the reach of bears, raccoons and other wildlife on the Appalachian Trail.
Martinak State Park
In partnership with Caroline County’s “Healthy Parks, Healthy People” program, the park will purchase six kayaks and gear for use by park visitors.
Wolf Den State Park
Plant trees in open areas in need of best conservation practices and t mitigate current erosion issues.
Youghiogheny State Park
Construct a Champion Tree Trail and install interpretive signage that feature two county tree champions.
2021 Small Grants/Big Impact Projects
The Friends of Maryland State Parks awarded grants totaling $13,619. These grants provided funding for state parks across Maryland to collaborate with community partners to improve shoreline habitats, build interpretive displays, renovate trails and campgrounds, create pollinator gardens, and more.
Given the challenges faced in 2020, even the smallest grant can bring a smile to park staff and visitors. Project examples include:
Deep Creek Lake State Park
Implement a fruit tree orchard including pear, peach, plum, cherry and apple trees. Interpretive signs along a trail within the new orchard will share insights on the history of arboriculture and importance of fruit trees to the nation. And the apples will be used to craft apple cider and butter during demonstrations at the annual Sang Run State Park’s Fall Festival.
Maryland State Parks (statewide)
Offer interactive snorkeling adventures in Maryland’s rivers and streams. With the purchase of snorkeling kits, park staff will be able to engage students and visitors in interactive aquatic adventures, exploring life below the surface of the clear waters of our parks’ creeks and rivers.
Susquehanna State Park
Establish an 8-acre field of native warm season grasses to enhance the ecosystem and serve as a demonstration, learning resource for local landowners and farmers. Traditionally the fields in Susquehanna State Park have been hayed commercially, providing little in the way of benefit to the natural environment. Natural grasses will provide habitat for small mammals, wild turkey and bobwhite quail among other species. The habitat will also provide hunting grounds for birds of prey such as hawks and owls.
Tuckahoe State Park Complex – Martinak State Park Nature Center
Construct a new exhibit tank for two Diamondback Terrapins that will provide the terrapins a more expanded land and water habitat. The new exhibit will give the terrapins a healthier environment and will also help students and park visitors see the terrapins up close, while keeping the terrapins safe in their native habitat.
Pocomoke River State Park
Install trail puncheons (boardwalks) to enable visitors to access remote portions of the park. The popular Trail of Change takes visitors through diverse elevations and vegetation, introducing them to a portion of the northernmost bald cypress swamp in the United States. Portions of the trail are often saturated and subject to tides, so the new puncheons will provide visitors a safe and dry path.
During times like these, we need our parks more than ever. Given COVID self-quarantine, our use of trails and open areas of parks has increased dramatically. In addition to increased visitation, parks face challenges from a changing climate and diminished budgets.
Consequently, your park resources and staff are being strained to the breaking point – a Small Grant can provide vital support. Whether you contribute $10 or $1,000 to our Small Grants Program, your dollars will support Conservation & Education activities in 2020/2021.
Our goal is to protect and enhance the conservation or recreation value of Maryland’s State Parks, and to inspire the public to adopt conservation stewardship ethics.
Our goal is to create opportunities for hands-on experimentation and minds-on reflection in our state parks. Place-based learning places students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities, and experiences, and uses these as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and other subjects across the curriculum.