"Oriole birds have long been an iconic symbol of our organization's deeply rooted connection to Baltimore and the Mid-Atlantic region - an area affectionately known as 'Birdland,'" said Greg Bader, Vice President of Communications and Marketing for the Orioles. "Through this innovative partnership to build the Oriole Garden at Camden Yards, we will welcome oriole birds home each spring and create an atmosphere where they can thrive, while educating the millions of fans who visit Oriole Park about important practices in conservation."
"As the landlord of Camden Yards, one of the most popular and recognizable outdoor facilities in Maryland, the Stadium Authority welcomes the opportunity to enhance our environment as well as educate our visitors," noted Thomas Kelso, Chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority. "This park provides an important message about environmental stewardship and demonstrates how any citizen can create the wildlife habitat so important to the vitality of our watershed."
The garden features native plants that attract pollinators and birds - including the Baltimore Oriole - that need habitat in urban and suburban areas to survive. According to the North American Breeding Bird Survey, Baltimore Oriole populations have declined throughout their range because of deforestation and habitat loss.
Much like the baseball team, Baltimore Orioles winter in warmer climates and return home in the spring. The Oriole Garden at Camden Yards will welcome back both sets of birds each spring. Even better, the garden coincides with the orioles' migratory pattern, putting it in their direct path home.
The new garden includes 12,000 native plants, many of which will produce orange flowers - perfect for "Birdland" during baseball season and the warm weather months. With its prominent location at Camden Yards and educational signage, the garden will also help fans learn more about orioles, native plants and how to create their own backyard wildlife sanctuaries.
In addition to providing habitat, backyard gardens and greenspaces help improve water quality by reducing polluted runoff going into the Inner Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay. Through these efforts, Baltimore is on track to be recognized as the largest Community Wildlife Habitat in the Chesapeake Bay region, including the certification of 600 homes, 10 parks, and six schools, creating a network of oases for urban and suburban wildlife that will span the city.
Grow Together Baltimore aims to improve the quality of Baltimore City by creating these backyard sanctuaries, beautifying neighborhoods and schools, reducing pollution and furthering a sense of community. Currently, the National Wildlife Federation is working on a large scale project with McElderry Park residents to create an inviting, "deep green neighborhood."
The National Wildlife Federation and its partners are transforming community spaces by replacing asphalt with a pervious paving system, growing pollinator gardens and rain gardens, and planting trees to augment the community's tree canopy campaign. The Federation will soon break ground on an alley gating demonstration project in the neighborhood which has been proven to reduce crime while creating inviting green spaces.
"The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is pleased to support this oriole garden project, which will advance our goal of restoring the Patapsco River and the Chesapeake Bay while at the same time engaging citizens and residents of the Chesapeake Bay watershed in the conservation process," said Holly Bamford, Chief Conservation Officer, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. "We thank CSX for their generous financial support and the tens of thousands of backyard gardeners who are creating water and wildlife friendly landscapes throughout the region."
The Oriole Garden is one significant portion of the Grow Together Baltimore program that will be a highly visible symbol of a much larger community partnership to provide vibrant green spaces and urban wildlife habitat in Baltimore. The Oriole Garden was made possible in partnership with Blue Water Baltimore and the National Aquarium and through the generous support of Chesapeake Bay Trust, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and private donors.