Sunday Afternoon Ramble at Boulevard Woods

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About thirty people (if you include children) and two dogs enjoyed a walk through the nature trail at Boulevard Woods late Sunday afternoon. They (the people, at least) also enjoyed cups of hot-chocolate, homemade cookies and the company of neighbors and friends at an event organized by Boulevard Woods volunteers.

If you haven’t been to the Boulevard Woods site lately and walked the loop trail through the park, please come and see the progress we’re making.

Here are a few more snapshots from Sunday’s event:

 

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Thanks to Rivers Alive Volunteers

Rivers alive group
A crew of volunteers from the Rivers Alive project (most are in this photo) hauled out a massive amount of brush on Saturday, October 15 to help clear a looped trail at the site. They also picked-up several bags of trash and recycling.

Rivers Alive is a volunteer effort focused on keeping waterways (and areas like Boulevard Woods which are near waterways) clean. The annual event is organized by Hands On Northeast Georgia, with lots of help from Athens-Clarke Co. 

Volunteers included: Marci White, Laura Hill, Paige Olmstead, Paula Schwanenflugel, Lora Loke, Luke Worsham, Dan Lorentz, Allison Lewis, Maddi Lewis, Evan Lewis, Mark Davis, Hillary Barber, Alvin Angulo, Margo Rothstein, Eric Heil, Lori Ringhand and at least three others who neglected to sign-in.  Thanks everyone!

We also owe thanks to: Mel Cochran, Ellison Fielder, Stacy Smith, Stacee Farrell from Athens-Clarke Co. for their help in the Rivers Alive event; to Greg Denzin of G&G Landscape Design who loaned wheelbarrows and tools for our use; and–as always–to Ms Ida Mae Griffin, who generously allows us to use her driveway. 

First Work Day of 2011 is a Big Success

Our first volunteer work day of 2011 was a big success. In our best turnout yet, 19 people–including many new faces–showed up to haul trash and other debris up and out, trim vines and pull weeds among other tasks. We got a lot done, but, of course, there's much more to do.

Here are some photos of our work:

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Volunteers for the first work day of 2011 included: Lillian Agel, Marci White, Allen Stovall, Charles Apostolik, Anna Claire Davis, Katherine Melcher, Kevan Williams, Matt Elliot, Micah Yost, Chris McDowell, Judson Abbott, Vera Eve Giampietro, Cameron Gube, Keristin Gober, Stephanie Wolfgang, Sam Kelleher, Rachel Watkins, Larry Slutsky and Laura Sommet.

We owe special thanks to: Stacee Farrell and the Keep Athens-Clarke Co. Beautiful Program for loaning us tools; Matt Elliot for picking-up and returning those tools; Bruce and Jane Travis for bagels, cream cheese, fruit and water; Lillian Agel for coffee and more; Charles Apostolik for cleaning-up tools afterwards; Rachel Watkins for taking photos of the work day; and to ACC's Landscape Division for–among many other things–agreeing to remove all the debris we hauled up and out of the site.

Neighborhood Charrette* Scheduled

BLVDWOODS
Legend box from draft concept #1. Image by Kevan Williams.

The Barber St. Park Project is moving forward, and we need your input.

Our design team has developed four alternative design concepts for a possible park or public green space at the Barber St. site. We need you to take a look at these concepts and let us know what you think about them.

You can inspect and comment on the designs at a neighborhood charrette — or design input session — on Monday, July 26 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the ATHICA gallery space, 160 Tracy St. Unit 4. (Find ATHICA here.)

Input at this event will be crucial in developing the final proposal we'll present to the county.

Please come, exchange views with your neighbors and tell our design team what you think. There will be refreshments, too.

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* What's a charrette? Here's what Wikipedia says.

An Earth Day Scrapbook

About 15 people gathered at the Barber St. site on the evening of Thursday, April 22 to mark Earth Day by learning a little about what kind of trees, plants and animals inhabit the site and by reading a little poetry in praise of the Earth and nature.

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Matt Elliott (left) talked about how aggressive invasive plants like privet and bush honeysuckle are competing in the site with less aggressive non-native plants like Pecan trees and native trees and plants like the loblolly pine and muscadine vine. Matt holds a jar with a crayfish and another container with a salamander–both caught in the stream that runs just East of the site. Matt is chair of the Boulevard Neighborhood Association and–in his day job–is Program Manager for the Georgia Natural Heritage Program. He is also co-author of Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia.

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Lindsey Hutchison and Allison Dublinski (right) explained how they have mapped and identified 52 trees with diameters of 15 inches or more in the cleared areas of the site.  Lindsey and Allison answered questions about particular trees and how to care for them. The two are students in UGA’s Masters of Landscape Architecture program and are conducting a tree inventory and health assessment of the trees on the site as a project for a Urban Tree Management course through the Forestry School.

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Some of the Earth Day celebration participants waiting for the poetry reading to begin in a natural theater.

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Todd Hutchison reading Advice from a Tree by Ilan Shamir.

Advice from a Tree
by Ilan Shamir

Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet of Renewal in the Winter

Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light

Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots

Enjoy the view!

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Dan Lorentz read Listening by William Stafford and–thankfully–didn’t have his picture taken.

Listening
by William Stafford

My father could hear a little animal step,
or a moth in the dark against the screen,
and every far sound called the listening out
into places where the rest of us had never been.

More spoke to him from the soft wild night
than came to our porch for us on the wind;
we would watch him look up and his face go keen
till the walls of the world flared, widened.

My father heard so much that we still stand
inviting the quiet by turning the face,
waiting for a time when something in the night
will touch us too from that other place.

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Marci White reading The Wild by Wendell Berry, with two especially attentive audience members in the foreground.

The Wild
by Wendell Berry

In the empty lot – a place
not natural, but wild – among
the trash of human absence,

the slough and shamble
of the city’s seasons, a few
old locusts bloom.

A few woods birds
fly and sing
in the new foliage

– warblers and tanagers, birds
wild as leaves; in a million
each one would be rare,

new to the eyes. A man
couldn’t make such a habit
of such color,

such flight and singing.
But they’re the habit of this
wasted place, In them

the ground is wise. They are
its remembrance of what it is.

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Heidi Lynn Staples, one of the evening’s organizers, reading For the Children by Gary Synder. Staples is a published poet.

For The Children
by Gary Synder

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us.
The steep climb
of everything, going up
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

Site is Prepped for Earth Day Celebration

To get the Barber St. site ready for an Earth Day Celebration on April 22, the previous Saturday a small crew of volunteers removed new plant growth and repositioned some downed tree limbs and stumps to create a small–and temporary–outdoor "theater" to host the poetry reading part of the program.

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The armory of tools for the day's work. Most of these were borrowed from the Keep Athens-Beautiful program.

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refreshments

Refreshments for volunteers as provided by Bruce and Jane Travis (again).

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Larry Slutzky battling new privet shoots.

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Todd Hutchison cleaning up in the poetry reading "theater."

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Rachel Watkins at work on removing some of the "trip wire" vines on a path.

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before

The poetry reading theater space before the volunteers got to work.

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after

After.

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Earth Day prep volunteers included: Charles Apostolik, Eppie Boze, Todd Hutchison, Dan Lorentz, Larry Slutzky, Bruce Travis, Jane Travis, Rachel Watkins and Kevan Williams. Special thanks to: Stacee Farrell and Susan Reese from the Keep Athens-Clarke Co. Beautiful program, and Roger Cauthen and the ACC Landscape Division for timely mowing. We were also delighted to be visited by project volunteers Marci White and Harper while on their way to other obligations.

Celebrate Earth Day at the Barber St. Site

And your very flesh shall be a great poem.

                                          – Walt Whitman

 
You’re invited to gather in celebration of our local biota, yourself included…
 
WHO: Friends and neighbors associated with the Boulevard and Pulaski neighborhoods. 
 
WHAT: Earth Day celebrations. Gathering at the proposed park’s top tier for a neighborly chat with park info offered by park project organizers. Stroll through land with introductions to flora and fauna led by Matt Elliott and UGA students Lindsey Petersen and Allison Dublinski. Have a seat with poetry and related recitations on lower-tier facilitated by Heidi Lynn Staples.
 
 
WHEN: April 22nd, 6-7pm—Earth Day
 
WHERE: Potential park site, where Boulevard meets Barber
 
WHY: 

….In beauty I walk
With beauty before me I walk
With beauty behind me I walk
With beauty above me I walk
With beauty above & about me I walk….

                                                 — Navaho

 
HOW: You bring a passage by a published author(s) on a subject relevant to Earth Day. Each person offers some ‘sing’ up for anywhere between 2–5 minutes. BYOR (bring your own refreshments) and BYOB (bring your own blanket). The area is relatively uncultivated, so we will want to take care negotiating the terrain. 

 
Come make a joyful noise at the pocket park for Earth Day! Post-event convenings at Little Kings.
 
For questions about this event, please contact Dan Lorentz at lorentz.d@gmail.com or Heidi Staples at  heidilstaples@yahoo.ie.
 
To learn more about the pocket park, please visit boulevardwoods.org

Trash Pick-Up and (Belated) Birthday Party

On Saturday, March 20–the first day of Spring–a small crew of us volunteers picked the Barber St. site clean of litter, and hauled-out a small plastic pool, a purple bra, several feet of plastic tubing, an ancient car battery and many pounds more of assorted junk. We also removed a pile of tree limbs and relocated some stumps and larger logs for potential future use.

Oh yes, and we still had time to chat with Commissioner Kelly Girtz, who stopped by on his own trash pick-up rounds, and to present a birthday/thank you cake, card and flowers to a helpful neighbor.

Here are photos from Saturday, March 20's work day/birthday party:

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Katie Medina poses with trash pinchers and garbage bag.

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Henry Parker prefers to pick trash by hand and uses a bucket.

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Eric Heil invents a labor-saving log-rolling technique.

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Rachel Watkins helps sort tree limbs. We kept the bigger logs and stumps for possible future use for the park. You can glimpse the trash and junk we collected behind Rachel. (I meant to take a photo of that, but forget to.)

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trucker

Charles "Trucker Charlie" Apostolik chauffeured the trash, tree limbs along with a couple volunteers to help with unloading, to Athens Clarke-Co. Landscape Division's recycling, trash and yard waste bins located on the West end of Boulevard.

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Barber Street Park Project volunteers Dan Lorentz and Marci White present a cake and flowers to Ms Ida Mae Griffin. Ms Griffin lives in the yellow house on Barber St. right next to the site. She turned 91 earlier in March, and has been a neighbor to the site for decades.

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Ida Mae with cake and card. The cake and card were sponsored by the Boulevard Neighborhood Association. The flowers (in the photo above) were donated by Eppie Boze, a park volunteer and neighborhood resident.

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Ida Mae and her daughter Tennie Brookins. Ms Griffin and Ms Brookins have been very generous in allowing the park project volunteers to use their driveway to access the site.

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Spring Cleaning volunteers included: Charles Apostolik, Eppie Boze, Eric Heil, Dan Lorentz, Katie Medina, Henry Parker, Rachel Watkins and Marci White.

Special thanks to: Stacee Farrell, executive director of Keep Athens-Clarke Co. Beautiful, for loaning us trash pinchers, buckets and trash bags. Roger Cauthen, Athens-Clarke Co. Landscape Management Division, for arranging access to recycling, trash and yard waste bins. Bruce Lonnee, Athens-Clarke Co. Planning Department, for approving an Environmental Areas Permit for our continuing limited cleaning and trimming work on the site. Boulevard Neighborhood Association for sponsoring the cake. Ida Mae Griffin and Tennie Brookins, once again, for use of their driveway.