Fifteen ninth grade students from New Era Academy planted 75 trees in Cherry Hill Park on Wednesday, November 14th, part of a 330+ multi-phase planting in the park this Fall. The tree planting has been integrated into the school’s Environmental Science curriculum and aligned with the local goal of reaching a 40 percent tree canopy by 2037. Off-site airport parking company Fast Park & Relax donated volunteers and provided funds to help the students participate.

It was a beautiful day for tree planting and the sun was shining. The 15 students planted native tree species, including American plum, tulip poplar, black locust, northern red oak, red mulberry and chinquapin. In addition to their study of local woodlands, students have been learning about the many ways wildlife populations and water quality issues are related to the quality and quantity of the Baltimore tree canopy. The trees planted in Cherry Hill Park impact the Patapsco River, which makes up the Baltimore harbor.

“Being able to apply what my students are learning in the classroom outside of the classroom is wonderful. With the support of companies like Fast Park & Relax, students are able to see the impact trees have on our water system and learn about nature in a real and meaningful way,” says Paula Dangerfield, New Era Academy Environmental Science teacher.

20 volunteers from Fast Park & Relax worked beside the students to ensure proper planting techniques were executed. Blue Water Baltimore Sr. Forestry Manager, Darin Crew, was also onsite to provide planting instruction and answer student questions about the tree canopy effort.

“Fast Park has been serving the BWI airport for the past 16 years. We have recently invested in some upgrades and as part of that celebration we wanted to give back to the local community that has been so supportive of us, and this project was a great fit, because it was consistent with our goal to approach our business in an eco-conscious way,” says Melanie Chavez, Principal of Fast Park & Relax. In recent years, the company has integrated Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) shuttles and clean energy fueling stations in other markets, as well as solar panels atop facility parking canopies to reduce greenhouse emissions and lower energy use.

About New Era Academy
Located in Cherry Hill, New Era Academy is a small, innovative, college-preparatory middle/high school. Administrators and educators, together with students and their families, are like family. Every one of their 400 students is nurtured to reach his or her potential, while preparing for life in the 21st century by building cultural awareness, self-confidence, experience, a solid academic record, and social skills. Modeled after Harlem’s successful Frederick Douglass Academy, New Era was founded in 2003 by Replications, Inc. Like Frederick Douglass Academy, New Era is a school for primarily low-poverty, minority and previously low-achieving students from inner city neighborhoods.

About Blue Water Baltimore
Blue Water Baltimore is a nonprofit community based organization with a mission to restore the quality of Baltimore’s rivers, streams and harbor to foster a healthy environment, a strong economy, and thriving communities. Blue Water Baltimore is also the home for the Baltimore Harbor WATERKEEPER, who patrols the harbor, takes calls on the pollution hotline, and holds polluters accountable under the law. To learn more visit   

About Fast Park and Relax
Operating under Parking Company of America is The Fast Park Family of airport parking solutions, with 16 nationwide locations in 12 markets. Fast Park brands include Fast Park & Relax, Fast Park 2, Airport Fast Park and Park Place. Fast Park companies provide customer service focused, airport parking, 24 hours per day, seven days per week, with instant shuttle service transporting travelers from their parking spot to their terminal. Facilities are located in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Austin, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; Cincinnati, Ohio; Cleveland, Ohio; Houston, Texas; Memphis, Tennessee; Miami, Florida; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Orlando, Florida; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Tucson, Arizona. For more information visit