Maryland Outdoor Club
Sat, Mar 27 2004 - Baltimore City Parks Spring Cleaning (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): Jesse Allen, Kate Scherr
Participants:Jesse Allen, Kate Scherr, Joanne Milne, Laura Rocchio, Lizzy Harrison, Lexie Harrison, Holly Rawson, robert odessey, Katie Stofer, Rebecca Hill, John Putman, Vladimir Konstantinov, Martha Stauss

Write Up:
The morning did not get off to a promising start, with grey dreary skies and light rain falling on and off. Undaunted, however, everyone who signed up for the park cleanup showed up, making this the first event for which this organizer has had perfect attendance. Better than perfect, as it turned out, as our work crew was joined by two local residents who had also turned out for the park cleaning.

After introducing ourselves to each other, and a certain club officer admitted driving exactly at the speed limit to get there on time (since the park coordinator was a uniformed Baltimore police officer), we met Mike Strawbridge, the Trail Manager, and Ian and Geoff, who worked with the park volunteer program. They provided us with gloves, trash bags, shovels, and other implements of destruction. We felt terribly proud of ourselves for having a full turnout of 13 only to have our bubble deflated to learn another group, Civic Works, brings in about three hundred at a time to work in the parks with cleanup. Thus mollified, we set to work. Holly expressed enthusiasm for a chain saw, but was denied the pleasure, while Lexie's desire for a shovel was granted. Apparently I should be looking for trail clearing projects.

The trash near the parking lot was surprisingly thick. Our crew filled bags quite rapidly with chip bags and packaging. Laura won the most odd object found prize with a 12-gallon gasoline tank. Other odd finds included a good deal of elementary school homework assignments, numberous tennis balls. (I surmised that Baltimore had dogs with poorly honed fetching skills until it was pointed out that there was a tennis court on one side of the trail. My apologies to Fido.) We also unearthed some brake components. It would seem that Gwynn Falls is the place to go for spare parts?

Rebecca and I quickly tired of the trash and switched over to chopping out kudzu, English ivy, and poison ivy from the base of the trees. Robert, Elizabeth, Lexie, and John switched from trash to shovels to dig out sections to put in a series of water bars to redirect water running down the paths into the woods and hence reduce erosion.

At the end of the morning, our crew had managed to kill climbing vines on trees for the first few hundred feet into the park (which is more work than it might sound), removed fifteen large trash bags (after consolidating a few half full bags) and the gas tank, and installed about eight new water bars along the trail. The difference in the areas where we worked was quite remarkable and pleasant. Ian and Geoff handed out 'We believe in a greener Baltimore' T-shirts to us all as thanks (Alas, they are a gift from Baltimore Mayor O'Malley rather than Kermit, the Frog, as I had first guessed.) Ian and Gregg promised to contact us about future volunteer program opportunities as part of the Baltimore Operation Green Thunder park works. We posed for a picture before some of us with other commitments for the day set off.

Rebecca had to back out of her original offer to have us over for subs at her home, just a few blocks away, faced with the difficult decision to clean house the night before or go line dancing with friends; she, needless to say, went dancing. So instead we gathered for a nice lunch and a pleasant social chatter at the nearby Bennigans. Joanne and Katie dashed off quickly after lunch to catch the cherry blossoms in D.C., but the rest of us had a more relaxed after meal conversation before calling it quits for the day. Joanne did make the excellent suggestion that, having cleaned the park, we should make a social event of visiting it again soon. Look for an easy walk and possible picnic event at Gwynn Falls on the MOC site in the near future!

We also owe a special thanks to our own Kate Scherr, who coorganized thi

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