Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Dog days are over

According to legend, Washington shuts down in the summer when the big shots and professional classes head for the mountains and beaches. Notwithstanding the obvious advantages of a "working vacation" in the backwoods of Ward 8, summer has never been  an easy time to recruit volunteers to Shepherd Parkway. This year five people showed up on June 10, three on July 8, and two on August 12. If you've been wondering whether or not this campaign needs you help, well...

But not all was apathy and stagnation: plenty of work got done by a trio of die-hards. Garret White, a University of Vermont graduate who recently moved to DC to do environmental work, found the Committee to Restore Shepherd Parkway on volunteermatch.org, and joined forces with committee chair Nathan Harrington and Ellen Williams, a long-time Congress Heights resident and community volunteer. Over the course of five days this summer, the three defied the stifling heat and humidity to remove over a ton (that's 2,000  lbs) of junk from along Lebaum and 4th Streets, proving once again that the skill and dedication of volunteers sometimes matter more than their sheer numbers.

And in any case, the hordes are coming back. On September 9, nine students from  Georgetown University brought visual appeal back to Parkland Place, a one-way street separated from Malcolm X Avenue by a dramatic wooded hillside. It has been cleaned by volunteers repeatedly over the past five years but continues to be the target of new dumping. Undeterred by television sets, sofas, bags upon bags of clothing and a hornets nest, they bagged an estimated half ton.

Sunday, September 17 Shepherd Parkway will once again play host to Catholic University's Mother Theresa Day of Service. 80 students will attack a major dumping site just beyond the southern tip of Shepherd Parkway alongside beautiful Oxon Run. All are welcome to join us from 10am to 1pm. Meet at  4721 1st Street SW.

Clean-up dates for the remainder of 2017 are October 14, November 11, and December 9, always from 10:30 am to 1 pm. We meet at the benches opposite 555 Newcomb Street SE in the lively "town green" of Congress Heights.

Want to make sure we're for real?  Call Nathan at 301-758-5892 or email nbharrington@yahoo.com.

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