I want to share with everyone the â€œday onâ€ we had here in DC on the MLK Jr. Holiday, when DC staff and students from the Conservation Leadership Corps braved the cold weather to help clear invasive species from the banks of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canalâ€¦
Washington, DC - Although Monday was a holiday and attendance was voluntary, five District high school students got up early and braved the freezing temperatures to work at the SCAâ€™s Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Project. Armed with loppers, handsaws, and prying tools, they turned a day off into a day of service.
The event was hosted by Mary Travaglini, of the Nature Conservancy. A seven-time SCA crew leader, she currently manages volunteer efforts in the Potomac Gorge region. Mondayâ€™s particular site on the canal, near MacArthur Blvd. & Wilson Lane in Glen Echo, MD, is overrun with English Ivy, which looks nice on the brick exteriors of university buildings, but has a tendency to smother trees and native plants with its rapid growth.
After the crew arrived at the site, Mary showed the students how to halt the ivyâ€™s growth by cutting and prying out thick sections of the vine growing along the base of affected tree trunks. The crew took on the project with gusto, and by the end of the short workday they had managed to cover a full acre of the riverbank. Their efforts will ensure that the site will maintain some of its native growth, and the corridor of the historic canal can be more easily managed.
Students present included new CLC students as well as alumni; second-year CLC student Max Kamden joined first-year attendees Eimi Bonilla, Tomas Deza, Anthony Ortiz, and Stanley Recinos for the MLK Day event. Becca Brown, Amtchat Edwards, Halle Enyedy, and Cora McCloud from the SCA DC office completed the crew.
After finishing for the day, students were brought back to the SCA office in Arlington, and treated to a well-deserved pizza party. When the students were asked if they would have been willing to work a longer day, every hand went up.