Annapolis youth members of the READY team have been hard at work around Spa Creek supplying the manual labor to clean and weed raingardens. But while they worked outside during the hot summer, they also learned about leadership and team building that will boost their prospects for future careers.
In 2015, the Spa Creek Conservancy was awarded grant funding from National Fish & Wildlife Fund (NFWF) to begin the initiative of turning Annapolis Junior Watershed Stewards into committed environmentalists. The project, implemented by Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and Our Creeks & Conservancy, identified candidates for the 2016 READY (Restoring the Environment and Developing Youth) Summer Program.
The Annapolis based students attended a 3-day Crew Leadership workshop which focused on team building, conflict resolution, decision making, group dynamics and leadership strategies. Congressman Sarbanes, one of the workshop speakers, stressed the concept of environmental leadership. Of 28 youths enrolled, 25 completed the course and launched the READY Summer Program.
Reverend Johnny Calhoun, Executive Director of Our Creeks & Conservancy, managed the program which was housed at the Mt. Olive Community Life Center. Reverend Robert Walker, Jr. was hired to manage the crew leaders and oversee the daily work of restoring and maintaining rain gardens and watershed sites.
The 4 READY crew leaders and their teams of 6 worked on many important Spa Creek watershed sites. At Mt. Olive, they cleaned out the rain garden and weeded the conservation landscaping and at United Church of Christ, they weeded the minimalist garden.
At Amos Garrett park, the crews weeded, removed debris, cut overgrowth, removed invasives and mulched. At Monticello and Cheston Street-end parks, they removed the forebay rocks and removed sediment which collects in the rocks, and weeded the gardens.
In the challenging Lincoln Drive rain garden, the READY crews worked for several days removing and cleaning 10 tons of rocks (partnering with the Annapolis Fire Department who cleaned them with their hoses) and weeded the garden. This was in preparation for this fall’s project of replanting that garden.
READY partnered with GreenWorks at the Chesapeake Children’s Museum to clear 2 acres of invasives to prepare that ravine for its step-pool restoration. And finally, they weeded and mulched the rain garden at the Housing Authority of Annapolis headquarters.
SCC is proud and excited to be partnering with the READY program in future planting and maintenance projects. It’s easy to install gardens, but not so easy to maintain them. Our gardens made it through the hot summer of 2016, because of the dedicated and knowledgeable crews of the READY program.