What is Streamlink Education doing to Combat Deforestation?


Maddie Garnes

Volunteers spend their mornings planting trees according to a specific method designed by Streamlink Education to allow the trees to grow straight and healthy.

Maddie Garnes, Editor-in-Chief

Streamlink Education is a non-profit organization with the goal of returning fields, streams, and farms to healthy ecosystems by planting trees. They are a group of volunteers led by Lisa Baird and John Smucker that go out on Saturday mornings and plant trees on areas of land, such as farms, where the soil is poor.


Throughout Frederick County, increased deforestation has drastically decreased the health of streams and fields because of the effect trees have on releasing and holding onto nutrients in the ground. This is evident in dry stream beds, crackling dirt on the fields, and a decrease in biodiversity. 


Building a riparian forest buffer through planting trees is something that allows for the absorption of nutrients in the ground as well as keeping the streams healthier so they can increase in their water levels and species richness. As more houses and developments are built, this problem has become even more serious.


Lisa Baird, Streamlink’s grant writer and program director, explained the organization’s overarching goal: “Our mission is to connect community to conservation through educational and meaningful volunteer tree planting experiences. The goal here is to build a community of stewards as well as improve water quality through planting a riparian forest buffer.“


Throughout the fall and spring, volunteers gather in local fields, farms, and other areas that are struggling from a lack of trees. Each tree planting event begins with an introduction from Streamlink Education’s executive director, John Smucker. He walks the volunteers through the process of planting trees as well as the issues they are combating. It is a talk that is meant to encourage the volunteers of the good they are doing to the environment and give them a sense of togetherness.


At each tree planting, volunteers help plant around 300-400 trees. Some planting sites are revisited multiple days for a total of 2000 trees. This environmental work would not be possible without the involvement of volunteers. Many volunteers return day after day because they feel like planting trees is a way they can help revitalize the environment we all live in. 


One such volunteer was Farjana Hamid who brought her daughter to a tree planting event where 400 trees were planted over the course of two hours. She loved the experience and wanted to encourage everyone that they can also help reduce the negative effects on the environment. Hamid explained: “It gets intimidating if you’re looking at climate change overall, and I would say, there are so many little things you can do so you don’t have to join an organization. It’s something as simple as picking up trash in your neighborhood.”

Streamlink Education is a non-profit organization hoping to reverse the effects of deforestation on the surrounding area we live in. If you want to get involved in the change, contact Maddie Garnes at [email protected]. It is a great experience where you can make a difference in the world we live in through planting one tree at a time.