Photo via Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks

A nonprofit dedicated to preserving Herring Run Park in Northeast Baltimore has received a $24,500 grant to improve the vast green space.

The money for the the group, named the Friends of Herring Run Parks, will come from the Chesapeake Bay Trust. The trust awards millions in grants each year to organization that seek to preserve the bay and its tributaries and raise awareness about environmental issues in the Chesapeake Bay region. This is the first time the Friends of Herring Run Parks has been selected for a Bay Trust grant.

The group will use the money for its 10-month “Keep Herring Run Parks Beautiful” campaign, which seeks to install more trash cans, organize regular litter pickups in the stream bed and surrounding parklands and generate awareness of trash pollution in the 375-acre park. They plan to coordinate their efforts with Trash Free Maryland and the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks and Department of Public Works.

At the end of the campaign, the group plans to host a participatory art installation with an anti-littering message to further beautify the green space.

“Herring Run Parks are a community treasure now, and with this money we can really pull together volunteers in a new way and raise awareness about how to decrease littering in our parks,” said Friends of Herring Run Parks board president Laura Gillis in a statement.

Julie Lawson, executive director of Trash Free Maryland, said in an interview that she’s “thrilled” the trust selected the group as a grant recipient. Her organization is also working with city, state and federal agencies on a campaign called Trash Free Baltimore, which encourages people to clean up after themselves in public spaces.

“We’re trying to change the culture of littering in Baltimore,” Lawson said. “Working with the Friends of Herring Run now to get the parks component started, hopefully it becomes a more sustainable campaign after this initial grant period.”

Herring Run Park runs from the edge of the Morgan State University campus past the Belair-Edison neighborhood and down to I-895 near Pulaski Highway. It serves more than 130,000 Northeast Baltimore residents, according to the Friends of Herring Run Parks.

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...