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Article: Volunteers clean up & plant campus greenway/streams

September 11, 2018 3:00 PM

The Baltimore Sun recently published an article highlighting the volunteer efforts led by students in the Environmental Task Force, along with Larry Hennessyfrom Facilities Management. Read on below for some excerpts and follow this link for the full article! 

The undergraduates... worked through a cold drizzle with the Environmental Task Force, a student group, to help clean UMBC’s Herbert Run Greenway, a 1.4-mile loop on the school’s campus.

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The Herbert Run cleanup was part of UMBC’s Welcome Week Service Project, a campus tradition that aims to connect students with opportunities to help their local communities.

The greenway starts and finishes near the Commons Garage off Hilltop Circle and is open to the public. Like the rest of the Patapsco Valley, it is considered an “Important Bird Area” by the Audubon Society.

Much of the greenway is wooded. After passing under Hilltop Circle, a visitor would walk through a field and behind UMBC’s stadium, almost reaching Shelbourne Road, before reaching the school’s Conservation & Environmental Research Area.

The greenway is home to 76 species of birds, according to its website, including robins, kingfishers, bluebirds and ducks.

Eakes, a sophomore majoring in global studies and environmental science, said the band of student volunteers taking part in the Sept. 8 cleanup collected 149 pounds of garbage and recyclables.

After collecting trash and learning about invasive species that have cropped up around UMBC, the volunteers reconvened near the start of the greenway to clear some overgrowth and split into groups to plant two native plants: black-eyed Susans and a redosier dogwood tree.

The plants were purchased and donated by Larry Hennessey, associate director of UMBC’s facilities management department... Hennessey said planting trees on campus that will outlive a student’s tenure at UMBC gives them something they “can look back to” and could prove “inspirational” for environmentally minded students.

UMBC’s Environmental Task Force holds weekly stream cleanups on campus, with students deciding where to work each week based on what they see during the week, Eakes said.

“It’s really meaningful, the fact that you can see your efforts, like you go in and you see this litter, but then you leave and it’s cleaner and greener,” Eakes said. “It just shows that it does make a difference, what we do is important.”

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