By Will Fadely, Baltimore Program Organizer – Follow Will on Twitter (@TrillChillWill)
April offers a unique opportunity for community members to recognize the importance of stewardship of their local environment and waterways. Residents are eager to shake off ‘Old Man Winter’, strap on their boots and get to their nearest stream or green space and get cleaning. Clean Water coordinated a variety of events for Baltimore residents to give back to the Chesapeake Bay.
On Earth Day, joined by the Towson University Environmental Science and Studies Club, the EcoReps, Office of Sustainability & student volunteers we took on the Towson Run stream, as part of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s Project Clean Stream.
Cleaning from the Residence Tower to the Baseball field we collected and sorted ten pounds of trash, plastic & glass, and aluminum.
Now if any of you reading this are alumnae or have ever been on campus, you know that stream connects the bar scene and northern part of campus leading to many dorms and on campus apartments.
Most of what we found was leftovers from parties on the way to the bar or leftovers from the bar on the way to the after-party. But, that’s college and who’s to say we all haven’t celebrated after a test or term-paper.
Student passersby were interested in sorting trash appropriately and even stopped to ask questions about the importance of composting and how they might do it on campus.
Saturday brought a day of cleaning illegal dumping sites, green spaces, gutters, and adding some color to our communities by stenciling our most polluted storm drains in Hampden and Westport.
Starting in Westport, we worked with community members to clean Annapolis Road, the main street in the community, stencil storm drains throughout the resident’s neighborhoods, and even cleared litter and debris from the future green space hosting the new Westport Farmer’s Market.
Residents driving by pulled over to help clean and stencil the storm drains because they “are tired of people treating the drains like trashcans,” says Keisha Allen, President, Westport Neighborhood Association.
While the cleanup was underway in Westport, Clean Water coordinated another cleanup in Hampden, partnering with the Hampden Community Council and Towson University’s Big Event. Clean Water volunteers scrubbed and stenciled storm drains along Falls Road, encouraging residents “Don’t Dump” because it “Drains to the Chesapeake Bay,” expressed by the stencils.
Leading 15 volunteers from TU’s Pasión dance team through Hampden, Amy (Clean Water intern), split volunteers up to take on nearly a dozen storm drains. “Residents were coming out of their houses to ask us if they could help clean up,” says Amy. “It was a great opportunity to educate residents on the effects polluted runoff has on their local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.”
Later that afternoon, we returned to South Baltimore for a Concert for Fair Development celebrating a recent victory in securing divestments from a toxic waste-to-energy incinerator just one mile from elementary and high schools, playgrounds and resident’s homes.
The Baltimore Regional Cooperative Purchasing Committee (BRCPC) was the sole investor in the Energy Answers incinerator, consisting of 22 state entities aligned to receive energy from the WTE Incinerator.
Through a coalition of advocates, Clean Water helped secure the divestment of the 22 entities, leaving Energy Answers without financial support.
The afternoon kicked off with a parade to support fair development in South Baltimore, followed by a concert from local residents.
A BIG THANK YOU to all our Earth Week 2015 partners and contributors: Towson University Big Event; TU EcoReps; TU Environmental Science & Studies Club; Westport Neighborhood Association, Hampden Community Council; Baltimore Community Toolbank; & MD Department of Natural Resources.