Monday, October 6, 2014

WPGC Radio Personality Pitches In

For anyone who doesn't know, Sunni is a radio host at D.C’s leading Hip Hop and R&B station, WPGC 95.5. Her show, Sunny and the City, can be heard live Monday though Saturday 10:00 am until 2:00 pm. She previously graced the airwaves on Power 96 in Miami and  95.5 in Detroit.

Natives of Bosnia, Sunni and her family lived in three refugee camps in Croatia before being transported to the United States in 1997. She began her career in radio at the age of 18 and became the youngest radio personality in the Detroit market. She’s also the first woman from Bosnia to host a radio show in the U.S.

Interviewing celebrities and hosting parties is just another day in the life of a radio host, but Sunni is also known for her charity work, including the Special Olympics, Covenant House, Komen Race For The Cure, the National Kidney Foundation, and UNICEF.

On September 16, the Committee to Restore Shepherd Parkway joined the list as Sunny and an entourage of staff from WPGC and Ciroc Vodka got down and dirty amid the piles of trash buried in the woods behind Brother Place.    

The event came about thanks to Committee member Albert Arevalo of the Alice Ferguson Foundation

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

DC Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton to Host on National Park Service Town Hall for Wards 7 and 8.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton 

invites you to a 

National Capital Parks-East Town Hall Meeting 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 

 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

THEARC, 1901 Mississippi Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20032


Discuss the Future of Federal Parkland in Wards 7 & 8 with the National Park Service 

Learn about Future Developments and Plans. 

Address the Outlined Needs of the Federal Parks East of the 


Bring your Suggestions for Improving Your Parkland in Wards 7 & 8 


Join the Discussion with:

  • Gopaul Noojibail, Superintendent, National Capital Parks East 

  • Nathan Harrington, Chair, Committee  to Restore Shepherd Parkway

  • Steve Coleman, Director, Washington Parks & People 

  •  Scott Kratz, Director, 11th Street Bridge Park Project

 For more information, please contact our District Office at (202) 408 -9041 or at NortonEvents@Mail.House.Gov

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

New Name, Same Vision

The Shepherd Parkway Committee, thusly named since 2011, is a thing of the past. At our September 3 meeting, the five members in attendance voted unanimously to rename ourselves “the Committee to Restore Shepherd Parkway.” 

We feel the new name implies action and movement while pointing towards our ultimate goal: to restore the park -ecologically, aesthetically, as socially -into a dynamic part of the life of Ward 8.  

The Committee to Restore Shepherd Parkway will continue to be an arm of the Congress Heights Community Association and to report to its monthly meetings at the UPO Petey Greene Center.

Membership is the committee to open to anyone who cares about the park, with a special welcome for Ward 8 residents. We always welcome new ideas and energy. We meet about four or five times a year at the homes of Committee members in Ward 8.  To join, contact Nathan Harrington at nbharrington (at) yahoo (dot) com.   

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Winter Clean-Up Dates Announced

Contrary to popular belief, the winter months are actually a great time to remove trash and invasive species from the park. You don't have to worry as much about poison ivy, mosquitos, ticks, and bees. Trash is easier to see in the absence of foliage, and invasive poison ivy stands out as one of the only green things in the winter forest. I'm sure I'm not the only person who would rather work in 45 degree chill than 85 degree humidity.

Join us from 10 AM to 1 PM on

Saturday, December 6
Saturday, January 10
Saturday, February 21

We will continue to meet at the picnic tables near the intersection of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X Avenue SE. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fall 2014 Community Clean-Ups are almost here!

After a two  month summer hiatus, Shepherd Parkway Community Clean-Ups are back!

We've come too far to let up now. The park is cleaner than it's been in decades, but there's still a shocking amount of trash covering the ground in some areas.

Please join us at on

Saturday, September 13, 10 am to 1 pm
Saturday, October 18, 10 am to 1 pm
Saturday, November 8,  10 am to 1 pm

We'll meet at the picnic tables near the corner of Martin Luther King Avenue and Malcolm X Avenue SE and work in the area north of Malcolm X Avenue.

You will be working on a hillside in the woods, so hear long pants and clothes that can get dirty. Gloves, bags, water, and lunch will be provided.

If you plan to bring a group of more than five, please RSVP to Nathan at or 301-758-5892.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Reclaiming Our Communities through Litter Education

Guest Blog By Albert Arevalo, Community Outreach Liaison with the Alice Ferguson Foundation

Litter is in our communities, parks, and waterways in large part because someone chooses to drop their trash on the ground instead of finding a trash can. Yes, some litter is there because people accidentally drop things, or because people forget to make sure the lids of their trash and recycling bins are covered, but by-in-large litter is a problem because of personal choices in how we dispose of trash.

In Congress Heights, the Alice Ferguson Foundation is seeking to educate the community and to change attitudes and behavior around the bad habit of littering through our Regional Litter Prevention Campaign. One of our strongest community allies is Nathan Harrington. He along with hundreds of volunteers has dedicated countless hours to restore the health of the Shepherd Parkway by removing trash and invasive species found throughout the park.

As our campaign grows and gains momentum, we invite you to make your own personal commitment to end litter. Some simple actions you can take include:

  • Pick up litter when you see it.    

  • Talk to your friends, family, and others about why it is important not to litter.     

Litter is a severe problem that affects our land, our water, and our health. By educating the public about the importance of taking control of their trash and disposing of it responsibly, we can begin to change littering behavior and ultimately reduce the amount of trash in our communities and waterways. Find out how you can take action at

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Introducing the Shepherd Parkway Call to Action

After three years and quiet and diligent work, it's time for the campaig
We've mobilized over a thousand volunteers and removed hundred of thousands of pounds of trash from the woods. Now it's time to ask our leaders in government to do their part for the park.
n to restore Shepherd Parkway to enter its next phase. It's time for the "big ask."

Click here to read and sign the Call to Action:

After you have signed, be sure to tweet it and post it to your Facebook wall.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

June 14: 150 Volunteers

Saturday, June 14 was our largest Community Clean-Up of 2014 thus far, with over 150 volunteers, including large a group from the Fund for American Studies, interns from the U.S. Department of Energy, teachers from the new Democracy Prep Public Charter School in Congress Heights, and of course a healthy compliment of Ward 8 residents. Together we  ridded the forest of: 

-129 Trash Bags
-41 Tires
-8 hypodermic needles
-1 DPW vehicle-boot
-13 paint buckets
-15 Plywood sheets
-1 Sofa 

Friday, June 20, 2014

What's That Plant? Join the Shepherd Parkway Plant Walk and find out! Saturday, July 19, 10 to 11 AM

Join us for a leisurely walk through one of Ward 8’s stunning but rarely-visited forests. Mary Pat Rowan of the Maryland Native Plant Society will help us identify common, rare and invasive plants and trees.
  • Meet across from 249 Newcomb Street
  • Free and open to the public
  • Coffee and donuts provided
  • Questions? Call 301-758-5892 or
Sponsors:  Congress Heights Community Association, Washington Parks and People, National Capital Parks-East, Maryland Native Plant Society




Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Donate Online Today

Restore Shepherd Parkway has always been a grassroots, all-volunteer campaign with few financial resources.

The National Park Service provides us with gloves,  bags, and some other supplies. The Congress Heights Community Association, the  Anacostia Coordinating Council, and the Coast Guard help with refreshments for volunteers when they can.

In November 2013 we received a $1,000 grant from The Pollination Project, which has paid for  the printing of postcards and banners and the nourishment of volunteers. Individual committee members have spent hundred of dollars of their own money to fill in the gaps.

Now, for the first time, Restore Shepherd Parkway is able to accept online donations! Click the Donate button and top right to give now! Your generosity will help support the following:

-Lawn and street signs to increase awareness, pride and investment in the park by Ward 8 residents.

-The commissioning of a watercolor map of Shepherd Parkway by local artist Mary Belcher. Her gorgeous map of Marvin Gaye Park in Ward 7 help ignite the campaign that transformed "Needle Park" from DC's most polluted and dangerous into a treasured asset

-T-shirts for volunteers to help spread the word

-Gator aid, apples, coffee, donuts, lemonade and other seasonally approapriate drinks and snacks for our many volunteers

 -Printing of outreach materials

-Educational and recreational events in the park

 -Lobbying of the National Park Service and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton to bring the needed resources to Shepherd Parkway

If you share the dream of a healthy, vibrant natural oasis in Ward 8, please give as little or as much as you can afford.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Introducing the Alliance to Preserve the Civil War Defenses of Washington

As many of you know by now, Shepherd Parkway contains the earthwork remains of Fort Carroll (just north of where South Capitol Street crosses the parkway) and Ft. Grebel (just south of the rec center of the same name at the end of Elmira Street SW).

In the words of the Alliance to Preserve the Civil War Defenses of Washington:

"At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1860, Washington was a sleepy city of about 62,000 residents. Located south of the Mason-Dixon Line, entirely surrounded by the slave states of Maryland and Virginia, the Union capital was nearly unprotected with its only defensive fortification, Fort Washington,12 miles south. Washington was perilously vulnerable and realizing the potential danger the city faced, the Union army constructed additional fortifications for the city."

 "By 1865 the defenses of Washington included 68 forts, supported by 93 detached batteries for field guns, 20 miles of rifle pits, and covered ways, wooden blockhouses at three key points, 32 miles of military roads, several stockaded bridgeheads, and four picket stations. The defenseless city of 1860 had become one of the most heavily fortified cities of the world.

"Today, remnants of this complex system serve as windows into our nation's history. Not only did the Defenses serve their purpose well, deterring all but one Confederate attack on the capital which they repulsed, but they also impacted the city culturally, socially, and politically.  During the war, many enslaved people came to the fort system for safety and protection. They settled nearby, finding work at the forts and in Washington. Those settlements forever changed the cultural landscape of the city and became many of the neighborhoods that compose today's Washington."

Shepherd Parkway was purchased by the federal government and designated as parkland following the 1902 McMillan Commission plan for the District, which called for all of the land around the old fortifications to be linked in a grand "Fort Circle Park" surrounding the city. While DC the real estate boom of the 1920s and 30s made it difficult to acquire all of the necessary land to link the parks, the majority of the sites are protected park land.

Ward 3 has Battery Kimball, Fort Bayard and Fort Reno; Ward 4 has Ft. DeRussy (within Rock Creek Park) and the partially-restored Fort Stevens, the only fort in immediate DC area to see combat. Ward 5 has Forts Totten, Slocum, and Bunker Hill, among with extensive connectors.  Six forts east of the Anacostia River are linked by a seven mile hiker-biker trail that starts at Fort Stanton across from the Anacostia Community Museum and continues north to Fort Mahan, near the Minnesota Avenue Metro Station.

Shepherd Parkway, separated from Fort Stanton by  Suitland Parkway and the St. Elizabeths campus is a southern extension of this mighty greenway. Further south, in Prince George's County, Forts Washington and Foote parks tower over the Potomac. More forts abound in Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia.    

In 2007, a group of of Civil War buffs, environmentalists, and neighborhood activists formed the Alliance to Preserve the Civil War Defenses of Washington to "stabilize, maintain, preserve, and interpret the Civil War Defenses of Washington for the benefit of Washingtonians and visitors to the District of Columbia – present and future."

Be sure to check out their website and upcoming events, including a July 12 reenactment of the Battle of Fort Stevens on its 150th anniversary.

Monday, May 19, 2014

20 Volunteers, 1,800 Pounds of Junk

Saturday, May 17 was perhaps the best day of 2014 thus far for Shepherd Parkway.

More than twenty volunteers put in over 60 hours of work. Ten were participating for the first time, and 13 were Congress Heights residents, including DC Council Candidate Eugene Puryear, Matt Murray, Michael Sharp, Ron Stevens, Larry Williams, Michael Brockridge, Pax Johnson, George Oakley, John Gloster, Tristan Dewar, and Erick Whitaker.  

After a year of focusing on the area just south of Malcolm X Avenue and west of Brother Place, we returned to the woods along 2nd Street north of Malcolm X Avenue, where we removed tens of thousands of pounds of trash in 2011 and 2012.  

While littering along the street and the edge of the woods continues to be a problem, we were pleased to find very little new dumping in the year since we last cleaned that area.  Most of what we collected was simply missed before, including about 30 tires surrounded by intense brambles. Nathan sacrificed his body to get them out and emerged bloodied but satisfied with his accomplishment.

In total, we removed 57 tires, 50 large bags full of trash with an average weight of 20 pounds each, and another pile of assorted debris. The estimated one-day total weight of junk removed from the park: 1,800 pounds.

Sam Collins, a reporter for the Washington Informer attended the clean-up, took pictures and interviewed Nathan. His article should appear in print and online any day.