Friday, July 9, 2010

Northwood Chesapeake Bay Trail Project a Success

After eight months of work by 302 volunteers, 246 of them students, giving 778 hours of service, the Northwood Chesapeake Bay Trail Project is complete. On National Trails Day, PATC, Northwood High School, Friends of Sligo Creek, Neighbors of Northwest Branch, and the MD State Highway Administration celebrated its completion and success with a ribbon cutting ceremony and a 5k Bay Fun Run and Hike. On a hot and humid morning, 150 students and people from the community, including many elected representatives, joined the partnering organizations to officially open the restored fifteen acres of land adjacent to the high school and the Kemp Mill and Northwood Four Corners’ neighborhoods. Congresswoman Donna Edwards and State Senator Jamie Raskin both gave a short speech about the importance of creating green space in our communities and maintaining a healthy watershed. The five organizations were given Congressional proclamations and a MD Senate Resolution for their success and hard work. View this great slideshow of the event.
Work began to restore the land in November when 58 volunteers worked to remove 10,580pounds of trash from the land. Since then, over 11,000 pounds have been cleaned from the land. This huge land clean-up allowed volunteers to clear the trail corridor and build it, finishing it by the end of April. The Northwood Chesapeake Bay Trail connects the Northwood athletic fields to the Northwest Branch Trail at the Loxford Terrace trailhead. Along the three quarter mile trail are nine nature interpretive signs educating users about pervious and impervious surfaces, native and invasive plants, and harmful effects of trash and fertilizers on the watershed, including its effects on oysters and crabs. In addition, volunteers built a kiosk adjacent to the vernal pool which provides information and data about water quality. Along the wooded corridor is a narrow section that used to be mowed; it is now a native plant meadow. Two Horticulture classes planted 300 native seeds in the greenhouse. One hundred and sixty seeds germinated and were planted by ten volunteers in the meadow. Nine native trees were also planted on the property to fill in some bare areas. Lastly, volunteers removed 500 square feet of invasive plants, mainly garlic mustard.
The restoration of a once unofficial community landfill is now a healthy wooded corridor connecting two stream valley parks, Northwest Branch and Sligo Creek, where animals observed, such as deer, fox, box turtles, frogs, and chipmunks can roam a healthy and preserved ecosystem and where neighbors and students can recreate, run and hike, and find a peaceful place to share their thoughts.

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