State of the Park – Jan 1, 2013

State of Waterford Park

by Pres. Virginia Brace

PB2000042012 has been a fine year from my perspective. First, we were able to work throughout the mild winter months clipping or pulling invasives. We received grant monies for our major planting, and our current “worker bee” group is a pleasure to work with. To make a good year even better, we had weekly rains most of the summer, so we could get out in the park and work on improvements rather than spending hours each week with the watering chores. Shown right, members of the Mount St. Mary’s University Women’s Rugby Club worked with the Friends of Waterford Park on Dec. 2, 2012 to pull invasive bush honeysuckle from the park. Several years ago the honeysuckle was removed, but the seeds remain viable for years, so controlling the plant is an ongoing process. From left are Chloe DeLoughery, Jessica Martinez, Kayla Bishop, club President, and Emily O’Brocki.

In 2013 we plan to continue replacing the chicken wire fences around shrubs with more substantial 4-foot galvanized fences that can remain in place permanently. The shrubs will grow through the fence, and even if the deer browse the tips, they will grow back – pruning by Bambi is not necessarily a bad thing for the shrubs. Our ongoing battle against invasives will continue of course.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs always, we appreciate and depend on the support of our members. We have a couple of hundred dollars left from this year’s dues and donations, and that will last us until renewal time in the spring. As you read the 2012 section below, you will see how your funds were spent. We receive many comments about how great the park looks – I hope you agree that we have come such a long way since our start in 2005. Shown left, Lynn Leathery installing a tree sign.

2012 in review….

The hardy worker bees spent over 50 hours in the park during January, February and March working our way along the paved path, clearing the entire 600 feet of visible invasives. The state PLANT program again awarded us the Gold level of achievement (the highest non-staff level we can hope to achieve) qualifying us to apply to the MD Urban and Community Forest Committee for grant funds. We were awarded $650, and Ruppert Nursery donated $300 for our efforts as well. In April we planted 53 container trees and planted or potted 50 bare-root seedlings.  Throughout the summer we monitored plants, replaced fences, staked, watered and weeded. We added plants to the tended areas at Meadowdale and Baughmans   Lane and are planting around the new bench near the downstream bridge. We waded the entire length of Rock Creek picking up trash only to have rains soon after bring more garbage downstream to us.

This fall we planted an additional 100 trees, some larger ones to fill in the buffer area, some that we had potted in the spring to grow out, and some that the birds had planted in the neighborhood gardens.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThree new large trees were donated this year, a disease-resistant elm, a magnolia and a yellowwood. Donors also provided the park with two new benches. Shown right is one of the new benches donated this year.

We recently installed descriptive signs for 43 species of trees and plan to add signage to more of the shrubs and wildflowers.

We are working with Dr. Ferrier’s class at HoodCollege; they are monitoring Rock Creek, hopefully a first step toward getting some bank stabilization along Rock Creek.

The people we thank…..

sun on Rock Creek Ja. 2011The folks who make all this possible are our generous members and donors; over 50 households support us. The workers who make all of this effort so enjoyable include some who have worked for years such as Lynn and JoAnn Leathery and Lesley Cristol as well as newer volunteers Bill Einloth, Nancy Engle, Kathy Soria, Rachel Zigler and Andy Driscoll. Bill wins the hardest-worker award, and Andy, a professional arborist who generously gives his time and skills, wins the most knowledgeable prize. We received help this year from Scouts in Troop 799 and from the Mount Saint Mary’s Women’s Rugby Club. Buck Wisner continues to take our cans to the recycling center. Dwight Moser mows the buffer area at a very reduced price.  Kathy Soria is now doing all of our mailings work. Ellen Dean handles the duties of secretary, and Linda Berkheimer is now in her eighth year as treasurer. Right, the park is beautiful even in Winter!

Finally, without the support of the City, the MD DNR and the Friends of Baker Park, our group would not exist or function. It’s a team effort. On to 2013!