Capstone Complete: A Planting at Glen Echo Park

Four blogs, three information flyers, and 25 hard-working volunteers later, my capstone project for the Chesapeake Conservation Corps is complete.

Volunteers worked in teams of three to detach bamboo roots and remove them from the soil.

Volunteers worked in teams of three to detach bamboo roots and remove them from the soil.

While other visitors to Glen Echo Park were enjoying the Family Day festivities on Saturday, May 3, 25 volunteers donned neon orange and yellow vests in the closed off Living Classroom’s area to help create a native pollinator garden, the first step in the National Park Service's plan to revitalize the park.

Erik Oberg, National Park Service biologist, led the volunteers in different projects. Some volunteers were put to work removing the highly invasive bamboo roots. Although the bamboo shoots had been sprayed with herbicide last spring, the roots themselves were still very much alive and had to be removed to prevent future growth and to ensure adequate space for native plants. The remainder of the volunteers worked on creating two small, brick retaining walls for the native pollinator gardens. Once these were in place, they began planting some of the native plant species.

Once the retaining wall construction and preliminary plantings are complete, future volunteers will plant more native plant species, creating a fuller garden that is sure to attract and sustain local pollinator populations, such as bees and butterflies.

All in all, the event was a huge success. Thanks to the dedicated volunteers we removed a large amount of the bamboo roots from the Living Classrooms area, completed one garden - including retaining wall construction and planting, and erected a retaining wall for a second garden. Thank you to all those who volunteered their time to make my capstone a success.

-Rebecca Long, Chesapeake Conservation Corps

If you would like to read more about the project, please visit Native Plantings at Glen Echo Park. You can also view the information flyers about Native Plants, Rain Gardens, and River Friendly Products, which were created with the help of funding from the Chesapeake Bay Trust.