Monday, October 14, 2013

With or Without the Park Service, the Clean-Up Continues

Like many parks in and around DC, Shepherd Parkway is officially closed, being under the jurisdiction of the shuttered National Park Service.   The chaos and paralysis on Capitol Hill a few miles to our north has furloughed our friends at National Capitol Parks-East who ordinarily provide bags, gloves, tools, and curb-side trash pickup for our clean-up events.

But that hasn't stopped many of our city's most downtrodden residents from taking refuse in the grassy area near the intersection of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X Avenues SE. It hasn't stopped the littering and dumping that have long plagued that park, and it hasn't stopped the English ivy from growing and smothering our precious trees. Congress has ceased to function, but life in the (Congress) Heights above goes on.

After careful consideration, we decided to go forward with our long-planned clean-up on Saturday, October 11. Eight dedicated volunteers braved drizzly weather and rain-soaked ground to converge on the steep, narrow strip of woods between Malcolm X Avenue and Parkland Place, which has been repeatedly cleaned over the past years, only to slowly fill up again with trash. Among our finds this time: a huge cache of 1800 tequila bottles, a bunch of rugs, bundles of newspapers, and a four foot tall teddy bear.

Studies have shown that  people are more likely to litter where they see litter already. We hope throughout faithfulness and  persistence to change the perception of Shepherd Parkway as "just some woods."

Please plan on preemptively burning those Thanksgiving calories by joining us on Saturday, November 16 from 10 to 1 pm. Our meeting location will once again be the picnic tables near the intersection of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X Avenues.