During my yearlong Chesapeake Conservation Corps (CCC) fellowship with Potomac Conservancy, I have an exciting opportunity to lead and coordinate a capstone project. Projects are meant to inspire and activate community action by offering a range of activities that educate and engage the public in the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort.
I am excited to announce that my capstone project will help National Park Service (NPS) staff revitalize sections of Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo, Maryland. My project will help to improve an area of the park to become more environmentally friendly to the Potomac River, one of the major tributaries of the Bay.
With a former NPS Ranger as a father, I grew up visiting spectacular National Parks throughout the country, but I’ve come to learn that sometimes we forget about the hard work taking place at smaller parks in our own backyard. NPS staff at Glen Echo are starting a project to restore areas of the park to their natural state by removing invasive species, restoring wetlands, creating defined trails to reduce exposed soil, and planting native gardens - this is where my capstone project fits in.
My native garden plating will complement restoration efforts started by Potomac Conservancy’s 2013 CCC fellow, Lien Vu. Lien hosted her capstone project at Glen Echo Park as well, leading a group of 25 volunteers who removed non-native bamboo from the Living Classrooms area of the park. With the help of volunteers and the oversight of NPS biologists, my capstone project will remove the remainder of the bamboo roots, and plant a native pollinator garden. This garden will not only sustain local bee and butterfly populations, but it will also reduce polluted runoff in to Minnehaha Branch, the local creek which flows directly into the Potomac. This garden will serve to educate children and their families on native plants in our region and help future generations discover the value of conservation.
I will be blogging about my project over the next four weeks. But don’t just read about it – come join in on the fun and volunteer from 10am to 3pm on Saturday, May 3rd, with a break for a provided lunch. Please reserve your spot by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org by April 25th.
-Rebecca Long, Chesapeake Conservation Corps
Chesapeake Conservation Corps:
The Chesapeake Conservation Corps provides service-learning opportunities and green job training for young people through environmental and energy conservation projects. Funded by both the State of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the program seeks to promote and sustain the environment by providing young adults with opportunities to gain career skills and become more engaged citizens through meaningful service to their communities.
Watershed organizations, county governments, and environmental nonprofits throughout Maryland are matched with a “Corps Volunteer”. These volunteers serve a yearlong, stipend term with their host organization and provide them with environmental outreach and stewardship assistance while also receiving leadership and technical training.
For more information, please visit the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s Chesapeake Conservation Corps page.
Glen Echo Park:
Glen Echo Park is located in Glen Echo, Maryland as a premier arts and cultural center for Montgomery County. It was originally established in 1891 as a National Chautauqua Assembly, who used the space to promote liberal and practical education, but by 1911, it was transformed into DC’s premier amusement park. The park was desegregated in 1960 by the late Maryland Senator Gwendolyn Britt who staged a sit-in at the park’s famous carousel.
After the National Park Service acquired the property in 1971, they collaborated with artists and arts organizations to create a rich arts program in the spirit of the original Chautauque movement, while retaining elements of the amusement park, including the carousal and bumper car pavilion. Glen Echo Park Partnership for the Arts and Culture, Inc. was created to manage the facilities and programs, while NPS manages the grounds and provides historical interpretation. Today, the park boasts many resident arts and cultural organizations, who run artists’ studios, a thriving social dance program, classes in visual and performing arts, and run the original restored carousel.