Thursday, March 31, 2011

Urban Wildlife Gardening with Kids

This Saturday I'll be talking about urban wildlife gardening for kids over at the Anacostia Watershed Society. Hope you can join me... the weather is supposed to be blah so maybe we can have some fun dreaming of what it will be like when spring actually arrives for real!

Here's a brief description of the talk... for the location info scroll to the bottom of the page:

When you dreamt of being a parent, you imagined chasing butterflies through meadows and counting acorns in the woods with your kids. Now, in present day reality, you find yourself living on a city lot the size of a postage stamp and worry that your child with grow up with "nature deficit disorder."

Join me for some ideas about meeting these challenges, as well as a practical list of plants that can turn even a tiny space into an arena for experiencing the wonder of nature.

Inexperienced gardeners are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Urban Wildlife Gardening with Kids

Saturday, April 2

10 am -12 pm

Anacostia Watershed Society

4302 Baltimore Avenue, Bladensburg, MD 20710

RSVP: Please send an e-mail to: if you plan to attend.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Plant Trees for the Anacostia River

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments are hosting a Tree Planting Event. Come help the Anacostia River by planting some trees.

Saturday, April 16th9 a.m. to Noon 6600 Kenilworth Ave

Riverdale, MD 20737(Behind the Elks Lodge)

Volunteers are needed to plant approximately 200 native trees and shrubs (holes will be pre-dug).

No experience necessary.

Location:The Anacostia River Park is along the Northeast Branch in Prince George's County. Traveling north on Kenilworth Avenue from River Road, the planting site is located behind the Elks Lodge. Parking is available in the M-NCPPC visitor parking lot located at 6600 Kenilworth Avenue (Riverdale, MD).

Questions? Contact Aubin Maynard at or visit

Saturday, March 5, 2011

More Visions Needed for MNCPPC's Vision 2030

My good friend and fellow MoCo environmentalist Kit Gage recently let me know that she'd contacted the people at our local parks department to let them know her thoughts about the Vision 2030 plan they'd drafted after reading an email I'd circulated on the topic.

Kit's own email on the topic was so good I thought I'd post it here, with her permission of course. (I know some out there will have an issue with her words about deer. I've got different ideas from Kit on the topic, but I post her words here as she wrote them.)

Here's what Kit told those on the Vision 2030 committee:


I have looked over the Vision2030 statement, and as a heavy user of Sligo Creek Park, and active member of the Stormwater Committee of the Friends of Sligo Creek, I wanted to give a few comments on what I saw listed as peoples’ priorities as measured by survey, and the general priority list you all have put together. I am writing on my own behalf, but I expect my concerns are congruent with many of my cohort.

1. Without a more serious tree planting and invasives removal program, Sligo Creek Park and to a lesser extent other less degraded parks, will look very different by 2030 – many of the mature trees will be gone and relatively few native species will be left, given the overwhelming presence of ivy and other invasives that tend to preclude new tree growth. Norway Maples and other quicker growing invasive species will overwhelm the more slow growing natives.

2. Efforts to make new trails (which I support) that don’t’ take into account the need for significant tree and shrub planting and nurturing will just expose the dearth of trees and make warm weather use more difficult for lack of shade.

3. The MS4 and other stormwater requirements impact MNCPPC. You all are where the buck stops in terms of where the flood and drought and pollutants effects land in the county. A major education campaign to limit pollutant load, educate neighbors, especially adjoining neighbors, and implement some LID projects in your own areas – parking lots, buildings, walk-ways, roads, etc would seem at least prudent. In fact it’s probably essential for you all to address your MS4 requirements.

4. Education about the fact of the parks. Because skinny little parks abound in the county, they’re close to where lots of people live. MNCPPC and FOSC and other watershed groups spend some time having programs to help educate neighbors about why parks are so important, and not just as basketball and tennis courts, or ball fields. Given the changing population and changing language issues, it would seem a critical opportunity to do more education in the schools, more bi-lingual nature education in general, more education about stormwater and its impacts and implications.

5. Deer. Oy, deer. They’re eating everything. Remove them in all humane ways possible (including shooting), please.

6. I like that the existing community centers and facilities are simple, usable, and straightforward. No frills. Obvious maintenance needed here and there, but friendly for meetings, family events, and play. Where possible, please renovate using green methods and materials and alternative energy demonstration sites like solar panels where appropriate.

I’m clear that you’re facing daunting spending and staff cuts, wide-ranging needs, and clamoring priorities. Nonethess, I would urge you not to lose the essence of parks – outdoor natural spaces that in cities are otherwise not seen or understood. It’s incumbent on us to preserve what’s possible of the natural biome, and explain what it is and why it is to the surrounding populace not didactically but in an easily and readily accessible manner.

Thanks so much for your efforts to assess priorities and work to implement them.

-Kit Gage"