We are especially grateful for the amazing assistance throughout the year from numerous volunteers! And we’re also very grateful to Unity Gardens and Crosby Marketing for their contributions that have greatly assisted us in our on-going education and restoration initiatives!
Throughout the year, major changes and several events have taken place, including: welcoming Dr. William Sanders as our new Deputy Director (a volunteer position); rebuilding the CEC website; and conducting several large and small CEC Volunteer Days. Our Volunteer Days focus on educating students and adult volunteers while maintaining and improving the 24+ Native Plant Demonstration Gardens and Groves at the CEC at Mary Moss at J. Albert Adams Academy (MM@JAAA), a school for grades 6-9 for behaviorally-challenged students.
March 21, 2016, First CEC Volunteer Day of the Year
Fortunately, we had five MD Conservation Corps volunteers from the MD Department of Natural Resources helping us on this chilly day in March. Their outstanding volunteer assistance was a great start to our on-the-ground conservation landscaping activities for the year!
Unfortunately, from time-to-time, vandalism takes place on the campus grounds. This year, Ricky Meyer, CEC Garden Manager, replaced the stolen tabletop in the Outdoor Classroom and repaired benches and garden signs. At the beginning of the year, two mattresses, a couch, and several timber boards were dumped in the Forest Buffer (school-side of the fence). Corps volunteers moved the items over to the sidewalk along the parking lot for removal from the grounds. In addition to removing these items from the Forest Buffer, volunteers also removed lots of trash, weeded the Dragonfly Garden, and adjusted boulders in the Master Gardener Shade Garden. MD Conservation Corps volunteers did a great job in sprucing up the grounds, and we are very grateful for their tremendous assistance!
April 21, 2016, MM@JAAA Earth Week Event, in Partnership with AAMC & CEC
Thursday, April 21st was a surprising and sad day when we received news that Prince had died. It was also the Earth Day Celebration for MM@JAAA; and to celebrate Prince, his music was played throughout the day during outdoor activities on campus. Principals, teachers, and students—indeed the entire school—CEC volunteers, and volunteers from Anne Arundel Medical Center conducted and participated in various activities, including: planting several native shrubs; cleaning up the vegetable garden planting beds; spreading mulch; removing lots of trash throughout the grounds; and students painting bird houses at the Outdoor Classroom.
4-21-16 MM@JAAA Earth Week Event, in Partnership with AAMC & CEC
May 4, 2016, CEC Garden Tour and Volunteer Day with Annapolis High School Students at MM@JAAA
Wednesday, May 4th, turned out to be a slightly cool, great day of garden tours and garden care. From 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the CEC held two garden tours and volunteer sessions for 23 Annapolis High School students. Seven adult volunteers helped conduct activities including—Zora Lathan, Dr. William (Bill) Sanders, Ricky Meyer, Reverend Calhoun (Rev C), Lara Mulvaney, Eric Elston, and Vince Leggett.
During the tours, the students were very engaged in discussions covering, e.g., what is a watershed, pollutions sources, rain gardens, ground and surface water, forest buffers, native plants, invasive plants, pollinators, the Flint, Michigan water crisis, and environmental justice.
All in all, in addition to the educational sessions (which is the CEC’s primary focus in working with students), we accomplished a great deal including—removing trash and weeds from the school grounds, and adding mulch to the Sweetbay Magnolia Rain Garden, the Dragonfly Garden, along the path in the Forest Buffer, and in the Bertina Nick Rain Garden. Service learning is so worthwhile for students in more ways than one, as well as for the adults that work with students! It was indeed a very good day!
Four days in June 2016, we had a great deal of assistance from the READY Team (Restoring the Environment and Developing Youth). During June and July, the CEC provided tours and instruction for Reverend Johnny Calhoun and Reverend Robert Walker to prepare them for their work in leading the READY Team. This is paid training program for youth and the coordinators. They needed sites where they could work; and they seemed to especially like working at the CEC at MM@JAAA.
The READY Team removed weeds, trimmed lots of trees, and spread mulch in several planting beds. The tremendous amount of work accomplished by the READY Team is greatly appreciated! The work not only helps the CEC in our continuing efforts to maintain and improve this resource (as non-paid volunteers), the Native Plant Demonstration Gardens and Groves are a great benefit to MM@JAAA—especially environmental education for students—and they are a benefit to numerous other groups and individuals who visit and participate in different capacities.
On August 15th, we gave a presentation and held a garden tour for MM@JAAA administration and teachers, so that staff will know about the great resource on their campus, and utilize it as they see fit for their students’ benefit. Notably, with the start of the new school year in September, the structure of the school and makeup of the student population has changed from middle school students to middle school students plus 9th grade. And, almost the entire administration and teacher population has changed. We continue working to orient a new administration and teachers about the conservation landscaping/habitat restoration resources on their outstanding College Creek waterfront campus.
CEC’s First 2016 Maryland Day to Serve on September 29th—RainScaping and Reforestation at the CEC at MM@JAAA
On Thursday, September 29th, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., we were joined by our first wave of 16 volunteers from Crosby Marketing Company, plus three more volunteers. We added wire mesh around the base of several trees in the Forest Buffer along College Creek to beaver-proof them, trimmed lots of trees, tackled the brush pile, removed lots of weeds, and gathered and spread a mountain of mulch! Crosby Marketing’s slogan is “Inspiring Actions That Matter,” which was certainly demonstrated by their tremendous volunteer service. And their teamwork was truly outstanding! Everyone’s contributions have greatly enhanced the Native Plant Demonstration Gardens and Groves on the 10-acre campus, which restore and protect the grounds and College Creek and serve as teaching gardens for the school and community. And as several volunteers noted, the campus is a jewel, tucked away just off the beaten path!
View the web album with several photos: https://goo.gl/photos/Zc64jQpUjaCVR4Aj8
CEC’s Second 2016 Maryland Day to Serve on October 4th—RainScaping and Reforestation at the CEC at MM@JAAA
On Tuesday, October 4th, 40 volunteers from several state agencies, as well as several students and teachers from MM@JAAA participated in what turned out to be another great volunteer day with over 60 volunteers! Everyone did an outstanding job and we accomplished quite a lot of weeding, mulch spreading, placing wire mesh around trees to beaver-proof them, pruning trees, and planting several native trees and shrubs. Newly installed plants include: 4 Eastern Redbuds (Cercis candadensis), 4 Flowering Dogwoods (Cornus florida), 6 Serviceberries (Amelanchier canadensis), and 4 Inkberries (Ilex glabra). We also transplanted several young Eastern Redbuds. On Tuesday, we had three waves of volunteers. The first wave, from various state agencies, joined us at 10 a.m., including—MD Treasury, Comptroller of MD, and MD Department of General Services. The second wave, from the MD Department of Natural Resources, joined us at Noon. And from 1-2:30 p.m., a third wave of volunteers—MM@JAAA students and teachers—joined remaining state volunteers to wrap up a great day with an amazing team effort!
Notably, we were featured in the Capital Gazette which had several photos on their Home page on-line gallery on Tuesday October 4th, and in print on October 5th on page A5.
View the web album with several photos: https://goo.gl/photos/psB7LnY1SMtn6keM8
October 13, 2016, 1-5:30 p.m., marked this year’s last fall Volunteer Day with MM@JAAA students and teachers. Students did a great job, both with planting and with gathering and spreading mulch. We planted 3 Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica) shrubs in the BayScape Garden; 2 Fringe Trees (Chionanthus virginicus) in Rock ‘N Rain Garden; and 1 Inkberry (Ilex glabra) shrub in Shade Rain Garden. We also spread mulch in the BayScape Garden, and moved a couple of logs to outline the Shade Rain Garden. Adult volunteers moved the brush pile near the Outdoor Classroom over closer to the fence; placed U clips at the base of the wire mesh placed around trees to beaver-proof them; cleaned several garden signs; picked up trash; and adjusted the stone border lining the Waterman’s Garden.