Many folks out there are looking for ways to give back to the Earth and help keep the planet clean. But, you may not be ready to wear all hemp and go full vegan. So, what are some things you can do to contribute in the Baltimore area? Try volunteering to clean up some trash, participate in a food drive or join a group involved with planting trees. You can even contribute on a smaller scale. Be the “green enforcer” at your work. Educate your co-workers and do things like turn off lights in unoccupied offices. Start a recycling program if you don’t have one by bringing in a dedicated trash can for recyclables. If you would like to volunteer around Baltimore, look into some of these organizations.

Blue Water Baltimore

Blue Water Baltimore is an organization dedicated to keeping the water in and around the city clean. But it does a lot more than that too. There are weekly recurring events like Tree Hug Tuesdays where volunteers can join a group and keep trees healthy by watering, pruning, mulching and staking. The locations vary and RSVP is required. Everything needed for the job is provided. There is also tree planting on Saturdays.  Blue Water Baltimore even has cool stuff like Storm Drain Stencil Training where you can learn how to stencil messages to storm drains so you can educate your neighborhood about how important it is to keep these drains clean. Check out the website for all of the awesome volunteer opportunities provided.

The 6th Branch

The 6th Branch is a pretty cool organization. The leadership consists of military veterans who put the skills they learned in various branches of the military to use for keeping communities, and the Earth, clean. Part of what the organization does is called Operation Oliver, a dedication to the Oliver neighborhood in Baltimore City. Since July of 2011, The 6th Branch and Operation Oliver has cleared 75 tons of garbage, given children special opportunities to learn, had three large murals painted, built three green lots adopted from Baltimore City, planted more than 100 trees and shrubs, cleared weeds, helped locals find jobs, cleared homes of dangerous debris and have experienced the knowledge and help of nearly 2,500 volunteers. There are many ways to be a part of The 6th Branch. Head over to the website and like it on Facebook for updates and last-minute volunteer opportunities.

Maryland Food Bank

There are multiple locations in Maryland to volunteer for the Maryland Food Bank, including one in Baltimore at 2200 Halethrope Farms Road. Last year, this great organization distributed more than 26.5 million pounds of food through a network of 600 soup kitchens, pantries and shelters. This food was used to help nearly 600,000 hungry Marylanders each week. You may not think of volunteering at food distributors as a way to “go green,” but if you think about what it takes to be “green,” it makes perfect sense. Being “green” is treating the Earth like it is home to all people. We have to share this giant marble in the sky and keep it healthy for future generations. This sense of community fits perfectly with volunteering your time to help feed those in need. By helping each other, the planet can flourish. The Maryland Food Bank needs volunteers for things like re-packing donated food through a conveyor system, packing assorted food kits and checking expiration dates. It also has opportunities for people to help bag and flash-freeze meals in the FoodWorks kitchen. This is where perishable foods are transformed into healthy frozen meals. Check out the website and learn how to sign up.

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Tom Clocker is a freelance writer covering all things Baltimore. His work can be found on


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