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.

elliot et al

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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peterson&dublinsky

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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listening

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

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hutchisonreads

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's audience

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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heidistaplesreads

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.

tools

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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slutzky

Larry Slutzky battling new privet shoots.

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hutchison

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

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watkins

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:

katiemedina

Katie Medina poses with trash pinchers and garbage bag.

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henryparker

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

ericheil

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

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rachelwatkins

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.

presenting

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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cakeandcard

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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griffinandbrookins

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.

Photos of Site Map at BNA Neighborhood Party

maps1

A newly created map showing existing conditions and an old aerial photograph of the Barber St. site on display during a Feb. 27 Neighborhood Party organized by the Boulevard Neighborhood Association. The party took place at Little Kings, a bar on W. Hancock St.

map2

Allen Stovall, a landscape architect and professor emeritus of UGA’s College of Environment and Design, answering questions about the site and the park project. The map was created by Henry Parker, an architect, landscape architect and planner, and Stovall.

NOTE: Sorry for the poor photo quality. These are cell phone shots. I forgot my “real” camera. I also wish I had taken a shot showing how many people were at the party–there was a really good crowd–but the party distracted me!

View Site Map at Neighborhood Party

A map showing key features of the Barber St. site as it currently exists will be on display at a neighborhood party Saturday. This is not a plan, but an early draft of a survey showing locations of major trees, cleared areas, slopes and other features of the site as it is now.

Allen Stovall, a retired UGA landscape architecture professor, Henry Parker, a licensed landscape architect, and Dan Lorentz, a park project volunteer organizer, and others will be there to answer questions about the park project.

The neighborhood party takes place at Little Kings, 223 W. Hancock St., from 4-6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 27.

The party is an informal neighborhood get-together organized and sponsored by the Boulevard Neighborhood Association for neighborhood residents.  There will be a bake sale, and opportunities to learn about a variety of neighborhood events and projects.