Eco Friendly Projects at CTR
When Cathy Schmidt founded Chesapeake Therapeutic Riding, Inc., in 2003--she chose to add the name of the largest natural body of water in our area because of her appreciation for its impact on our environment and ecology. Now, we are able to take measures that help preserve and protect our resources, in honor of the Chesapeake Bay. The improvements that we've made to our outdoor spaces are designed to help clean rainwater of pollutants as it makes its way through our farm and the Deer Creek Watershed to the Chesapeake Bay. We've also added local plants and native pollinator friendly gardens, to help increase biodiversity and preserve the populations of insects and animals that depend on them. Here are some descriptions of a few of these specific projects. These sites are available for volunteerism, community partnerships, and education--so if you or your organization are interested in this, please reach out.
Thanks to the generosity of the Chesapeake Bay Trust and BGE, CTR was able to make significant additions to our outdoor spaces that help us capture, utilize, and clean the rainwater that passes through our farm on its way to the Chesapeake Bay. These improvements include our beautiful new Pervious “Patio-with-a-Purpose,” a 600-gallon cistern, rain garden (bioretention area) and rain barrels.
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With help from Chesapeake Environmental Management and the Chesapeake Bay Trust, CTR was able to design and install our Patio-with-a-Purpose, which is a beautiful outdoor education space made with pervious pavers and gravel filters. These pervious pavers allow rainwater to pass through them into a gravel filtration system below, which removes pollutants from the water as passes through our farm, into the Deer Creek Watershed, and on to the Chesapeake Bay.
Cisterns and Rain barrels at CTR help us help our environment by capturing and utilizing rainwater. Our cistern is a 600-gallon, sealed holding tank that sits underneath the outside of and collects rainwater from the rooftop of our indoor arena. Three additional smaller rain barrels are also located at downspouts. Once captured, this rainwater is perfect for non-potable, outdoor uses like watering gardens and washing outdoor lesson tools, especially in times of drought. Our Harford County ecosystem benefits from our cistern and rain barrels because they provide a quality water source for watering the native pollinator plants in our many gardens here at CTR. Rainwater Harvesting like this also helps reduce pressure on utilities.
CTR’s Rain Garden
Rain Gardens are another effective way that we can remove pollutants from rainwater before it passes to the Deer Creek Watershed, and the Chesapeake Bay beyond. With the help of Chesapeake Environmental Management and the Chesapeake Bay Trust, CTR was able to design, build, and plant our own Rain Garden here, in our effort to make sure we continue to be good stewards of the land we occupy. Heartwood Nursery in Felton, PA, helped CTR select over 70 native plants, shrubs, trees and several native grasses. These include: the Shadbush Serviceberry, American Hornbeam, American Beautyberry, Fringetree, Virginia Sweetspire, Dwarf Fothergilla, American Cranberry Bush Viburnum, Indian Grass, Turtlehead, Spotted Beebalm, Black Eyed-Susan, Cardinal Flower, and Swamp Milkweed.
CTR's Pollinator Meadow
The over 200-foot long hillside down the outer length of our outdoor riding arena was once over-run with invasive and non-native ornamental plants. Thanks to grant-funding from BGE, and donated volunteer service hours from Allan Myers Construction and Harford Mutual Insurance Group, CTR was able to pull out the invasives and non-natives, and replant the hillside into our own Pollinator Meadow. Work commenced in August of 2022 and continued through 2023. We partnered with Heartwood Nursery in Felton, PA, to select the over 900 native flowering plants, shrubs, and trees that live here now. We also were able to till the hillside and fill it with two-years worth of our own horses' manure-based organic compost. Now, the native pollinator friendly plants in our hillside provides food and shelter for butterflies, bees, and bird species that once thrived in Harford County.