Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day 2009 - Restoration Project at Plum Beach Brooklyn NY…

On Saturday, I volunteered with the ALS (American Littoral Society) in an Earth Day initiative at Plum Beach in Brooklyn NY. The project included debris removal, planting Beach and Spartina grass, Red Cedars, Beach Plums, Bayberries, Virgina Roses, Shadbush and Pitch Pine. We had a great turn out with over 100 volunteers in attendance; coupled with outstanding weather, it made for a very productive day. The first half of the project was debris removal. Don Riepe and I got to Plum Beach around 8:45 am and began to unload tools, gloves and other items. Fred and Barbara Torborg joined soon after and Barbara began the task of setting up the tables. Volunteers began trickling in around 9:00 and by 9:30 we had a nice group that had gathered at the round house. They signed in, listened to instructions from ALS members Barbara Torborg and Barbara Cohen and received gloves and garbage bags. Several teams then went to various parts of Plum Beach and began cleaning up. Debris was removed to the edge of the bike path where the National Park Service rangers used a truck to bring the garbage to dumpsters that were located by the parking lot. Around 1:00 pm, volunteers took a much needed lunch break. Skipping lunch, I went back to the marsh area where I had observed some bird activity and I was able to see and photograph a few species including a Great Egret, Killdeers, Oystercatchers and my FOY(first of the year), Greater-Yellowlegs. After lunch, it was onto part two of the project which entailed planting. We broke up into three teams, “Upland Team” whose objective was to plant (Cedars, Bayberries, Beach Plums, Pitch Pine and Virginia Roses), “Marsh Team” whose objective was to plant Spartina Grass and “Beach Team” whose objective was to plant Beach grass. I led the upland team, which consisted of around 35 volunteers. Don Riepe who was all over the place aiding various groups took the other two teams. My group walked to our selected site and within about 2 hours had planted well over a hundred plants. We regrouped at the round house around 3:30, where some of us gathered for group photos, others rested and some of us went to assist in planting Spartina Grass. The event was very successful. We had good weather and terrific volunteers. Even better was the fact that there was less debris to remove than I remember from previous years. I look at it as a positive outcome from all the hard work put in by all who help to maintain the site. Hopefully, at some point we could concentrate our efforts on another location; for now, we will continue our efforts to keep Plum Beach as pristine as we could. We will be back in the fall for the Annual Coastal Cleanup. I hope to see as many or more volunteers then. Click here to see photos from the event.
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