Tree Inventory and Health Assessment Underway

Englishivy

Trees are a great asset to any park site, and they are a vital component of the Barber Street site. But the lack of good pruning care and prevalence of invasive vines strangling the trunks and branches undermines the health of the trees.  As anyone who has walked through the Barber Street parcel can see, the trees there are certainly being challenged by invasive vines. (Above, trees wrapped by English Ivy vines.)

But help is on the way.

Lindsey Hutchison (pictured in photo below) and Allison Dublinski are conducting an inventory and health assessment of the trees on the upper part of the site–the space where a future park is most likely to be situated. Petersen and Dublinski are second-year students in UGA's Masters of Landscape Architecture program and currently enrolled in an Urban Tree Management course through the Forestry School.

Treehollow "Through our tree inventory and health assessment, we hope to provide the information and guidance needed to ensure the vitality of the trees in any implemented design as well as safeguard the park visitors," Petersen and Dublinski say.

The tree inventory is a project for the course the students are taking. They expect to complete the project by the end of April. When it's done, the Barber Street Park Project Volunteers will be given a report including a map of tree locations and accompanying data describing each significant tree (diameter 15" or greater) and recommendations for care.

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Broken branches hanging from vines.

[Photos by Lindsey Petersen and Allison Dublinski]

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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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.

Help the Design Team–Fill Out Early Feedback Questionnaire

We're getting close to beginning work on a preliminary plan for a park at the Barber St. site, but the "design team" that will be putting that first plan on paper needs your help.

As you may know already, the site for the potential park—located at 298 Barber St., on the East side of the intersection of Barber St. and Boulevard—is currently an unused lot owned by Athens-Clarke Co. 

We want to know what kind of park uses you think are appropriate for this 1.8-acre site.

Download a PDF version of the Early Feedback Questionnaire (22.8K) or use the online version at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/barberstreet—to let us know what you’re thinking.

Right now we’re working with the Boulevard Neighborhood Association, which—under the county’s Keep Athens-Clarke Co. Beautiful program—has “adopted’ the site for purposes of limited clearing, site documentation and trash pick-ups.  We’re hoping eventually to get the county’s approval for a park at this site, but doing so will take many steps, including this early step of giving our “design team” some site-specific ideas and preferences to work with.

Our survey last year gave us lots of ideas but these weren't tied to a particular location. Now, that we have a potential site—a site you can walk around in and explore—we need you to imagine your park desires in a real place.

Please visit the site. Repeated visits at different times (week days, weekends, morning, afternoon, early evening) are encouraged. During your visits, we'd like you to do respond to the questions in the attached questionnaire. Simple lists are all that's expected. Please feel free to share thoughts or comments that aren't captured by the questions. Diagrams, sketches, doodles are welcome, too. You might find this map of existing conditions handy to have on your site visits.(1261.1K)

When you go to the site, please be very careful.  Please stay in the areas where we trimmed back the
vegetation and stay out of the wooded areas.

There are lots of vines, stumps and fallen branches to trip on. Some of slopes are quite steep. Watch your step!

We’ll need your responses no later than Wednesday, April 14.

This will not be your only opportunity to provide input. You and the whole neighborhood will be invited to contribute to future plans. But your contribution at this early stage will be very important to the design team. The input you provide will be the first detailed input based on this specific site. It will be very helpful in generating the preliminary plan to be presented later for review and modification. This is an early but important step. Please help.

Take a Closer Look at This Existing Conditions Map

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Click here to view larger size

This recently created map, which debuted at a neighborhood party last weekend, shows existing conditions at the potential Barber St. park site.

The map is not plan (we don't have one yet) and it's not a precise survey of the parcel (which we may still need), but it does fairly accurately show how the parcel relates to bordering streets and neighboring properties. It also shows the approximate location and scale of some major features within the parcel, including large trees, a stone wall, vegetation boundaries, embankments,  and open areas. (The location of the major trees and other features indicated within the first 200 or so feet from Barber St.–basically those within the yellow areas–is approximate. The location of other trees–those in the green/gray area–have been drawn in loosely to suggest the density of tree cover as the site slopes towards a stream bed.)

Yellow indicates open areas

Brown/black hatch marks show ridges, major slope boundaries

Green/gray indicates thick vegetation growth

Circles with center points show trees and tree canopies

Blue indicates stream and stream buffer

This map depicts conditions on the site as it was at the end of February, 2010. The map was created by Henry Parker, an architect, landscape architect and planner and Allen Stovall, a landscape architect and professor emeritus of UGA's College of Environment and Design.

Thanks to Henry and Allen for putting this together!

You can learn more about the site and about the park project here.

Photos of Site Map at BNA Neighborhood Party

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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.

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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.

Gone in 64,800 Seconds

A brush pile moved curbside Sunday afternoon was gone Monday morning. The pile stayed curbside for from roughly 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14 till about 8 a.m.  Monday, Feb. 15–that’s 64,800 seconds or 18 hours–when workers in Athens-Clarke Co.’s Solid Waste Department removed it as part of their normally scheduled leaf and limb pick-up rounds in the Boulevard neighborhood.

UPDATE: Stacee Farrell, executive director of the Keep Athens-Clarke Co. Beautiful program, reports that the brush pile we created weighed 1.83 tons.

Thanks to Solid Waste for the fast service, and heavy-lifting!

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Sunday

gone

Monday

Operation “Move Brush Pile”

Greg Denzin, operating a small excavator, moved a massive brush pile at the Barber St. park site curbside on Sunday, Feb. 14.  Moving the pile will make it easier for  Athens-Clarke Co.’s Solid Waste department to remove it this coming week, when Boulevard neighborhood is scheduled for a periodic leaf and limb pick-up.

It took Denzin and his equipment less than an hour to move the brush pile. Denzin, who owns G&G Landscape Design, tries to minimize his environmental impact. His John Deere excavator runs on bio-diesel, and he insisted on scattering some grass seeds and pine needles to cover tread tracks.

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The brush pile before the move
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Where the piled used to be
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Waiting curbside for leaf and limb pick-up

Thanks Greg!

Thanks as well to Stacee Farrell, executive director of Keep Athens-Clarke Co. Beautiful, and Roger Cauthen in Athens-Clarke Co. Landscape Management Division for helping to coordinate the leaf and limb pick-up.

While the volunteer work day originally scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 13 had to be canceled due to snow, Bruce and Jane Travis were prepared to provide some very nice refreshments for volunteer workers; Shawn Doonan of Tarzan Tree Care was poised to offer help and equipment and Ben Myers of 1000 Faces Coffee was set–for the second weekend now–to provide free coffee for the volunteers. Thanks to Bruce, Jane and Shawn and Ben!

Work Day 2: New Areas Cleared, Trails Blazed

After postponing for a week because of bad weather, volunteers resumed clearing work Sat. Feb. 6 at the Barber St. site.

The ground was sodden, the wind cold and the work day shortened (to allow the ground to drain off a little from heavy rains the night before) but volunteers generated big brush piles while clearing three new areas and pushed forward on trail blazing. Once again 13 people showed up to help, but most were new faces.

Here are photos from Work Day 2:

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Karen Freed and Eric Heil haul brush to a pile

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Cat Dunleavy pries a Honeysuckle shrub from the ground

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Kelly Ridenhour gathers cut vines

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David Shillcut with loppers

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Gary Crider with tarp

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Anna Claire Davis near wall in newly cleared area

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Stella, Anna Claire Davis’s dog, taking in the scene

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Jim Okey clearing out brush

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Kevan Williams and Abby Moore on their way up to dump a load of brush

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Dan Lorentz tries to cut a vine

upperview
Work in the lower terraces as viewed from top level of site

newarea
One of the three newly cleared areas

Work Day 2 Volunteers included: “Chainsaw” Charles Apostolik, Gary Crider, Anna Claire Davis, Cat Dunleavy, Karen Freed, Eric Heil, Dan Lorentz, Abby Moore, James Okey, Kelly Ridenhour, David Shillcutt, Stella, Allen Stovall, Kevan Williams

Special thanks to:  Robert Gunn for supplying some yummy sandwiches.