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

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.

Treebranches
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:

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.

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

barberstsitemap2-26-10

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

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.

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!

3feb14

Sunday

gone

Monday