Monday, April 28, 2014

Coast Guard Makes Earth Day Landfall

Shepherd Parkway has a new neighbor. In 2013, the United States Coast Guard became the first tenant to move into the historic West Campus of the former St. Elisabeths hospital. The campus will eventually house over 14,000 workers from all divisions of the Department of Homeland Security, including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The northern end of Shepherd Parkway can be seen at top right of this artist's rendering of the coast Guard headquarters.

Less than a month after joining the Shepherd Parkway Committee, Lt. Comm. Jonathan Shafler, a veteran of the National Park Service and Fish and Willdlife Service, made good on his promise to get Coast Guard personnel involved in the restoration of Shepherd Parkway.  His crew of six made up in enthusiasm what they lacked in  numbers, netting over a thousand pounds of trash from behind Brothers Place.

Five days later, on April 26, 15 volunteers converged on the same area for the Community Clean-Up. In addition to bagging over a ton of junk, we pulled up several thousand blades of invasive mustard grass in full bloom, thereby preventing them from reproducing. Mustard grass out-competes natives species and forms dense colonies of foot-high ground cover. It' is a scourge on DC's forest, rivaled only to trash and English ivy.

Fall 2014 Clean-Up Dates Announced

Our next Community Clean-Up dates are Saturday, May 17 and Saturday, June 14 from 10 am to 1 pm.

We'll be taking July and August out of respect for the heat and humidity.  Mark your calendars now for our fall dates:
Saturday, September 13
Saturday, October 18
Saturday, November 8  

Through the end of 2014 we will continue to meet in the picnic area near the corner of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X Avenues SE. After sign-in and introductions, we’ll be walking down to the alley behind Brothers Place. 

All Community Clean-Ups run from 10 am to 1 pm.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Harsh Winter Finally Yields to Spring

After a winter of near-record snow and cold, seasonable early spring whether has finally arrived in Washington. The Saturday, March 22 Community Clean-up drew more than 20 volunteers, most of them first-timers.

We worked once again in the woods behind Brothers Place SE, removing thousands of glass and plastic bottles, dozens of tires, and many large pieces of scrap metal.

The Shepherd Parkway Committee has an enthusiastic new member in Faheemah Davillier, who live on Oakwood Street, two blocks from the park. She explained her decision to get involved like this:

"I am an avid outdoors person and it saddens me that there is so much potential in Ward 8's backward that the community can enjoy, but has been misused and abused. I have been living in Congress Heights  for three years and to enjoy the outdoors I usually travel to VA, MD or other parts of DC. If I could enjoy the outdoors in my own backyard would be life changing," 

Also joining the clean-up and the committee is Lt. Comm. Jonathan Schafler, head of community outreach for the new U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters at the West Campus of St. Elizabeths, which borders Shepherd Parkway to the north. A veteran of the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Schafler brings valuable expertise and connections in park management. He has pledged to bring Coast Guard personnel to the park in the coming months.

 Mark your calendar for the upcoming Community Clean-Ups from 10 am to 1 pm on

Saturday, April 26
Saturday, May 17
Saturday, June 14

Our meeting location is still at the picnic tables near the corner of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X Avenues SE. Gloves, bags and refreshments will be provided. Be sure to wear boots and clothes that can get dirty. High school students should bring the appropriate forms to earn community service hours.