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Dramatic Results from Invasive Vine Removal

On the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend, volunteers arrived bright and early at the community garden in Chinquapin Run Park to remove invasive plants and vines. The volunteers hailed primarily from Morgan State University and neighborhoods surrounding the park; we were also aided by Ryan Dorsey, who is running for City Council in the 3rd District. Experts from Baltimore Green Space and Weed Warriors were on hand to identify plants, provide tools, and demonstrate removal methods.

Morgan students volunteering at invasive removal
Morgan students volunteering at invasive removal

Our primary targets were the easily uprooted garlic mustard plant, and the not so easily removed English ivy vine. The garlic mustard could be removed by hand, but we attacked the vines with all the tools at our disposal–pruning shears, loppers, and, for the really big vines, saws. The first tree we focused on was the centrally located, very striking sycamore tree that dominates the area behind the community garden. As you can see from the photo below, the sycamore carried quite a load of vines, but with some hard work we freed it from the worst of the mess. We were also able to address several other trees that were covered in ivy.

Sycamore tree: before
Sycamore tree: before

By the end of the morning, the volunteers had removed hundreds of pounds of invasive plants.

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However, our work in Chinquapin Run Park is far from done. We will continue our efforts in the coming months to make the park a clean, friendly, welcoming place for Morgan students, faculty, and staff and members of the communities around the park.

Sycamore tree: after
Sycamore tree: after

Invasive Plant Removal and Cleanup

The Morgan Community Mile is partnering with the Perring Loch Community Association, Weed Warriors, Blue Water Baltimore, and Baltimore Green Space in an invasive plant removal extravaganza at Chinquapin Run Park this Saturday, May 9th. The event begins at 8:30am, but we will be out there for several hours so please feel free to come by later if you like to sleep in. We will be providing gloves, clippers, and trash bags, but you can bring your own tools if you would like. We will have bottled water, but don’t forget sun protection like hats and sunscreen! It would be best to wear close-toed shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty and long pants to protect from thorns and poison ivy.

We will meet at the community garden in the eastern end of the park, on the west side of Hillen Road where it splits into Perring Parkway. It is approximately at the intersection of Hillen Road and Stonewood Road. The image below has the meeting spot circled in yellow.

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We hope to see you there!

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Job Fair POSTPONED

Hello everyone!

Unfortunately, we have had to postpone the Green Jobs Fair scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. However, this is a good opportunity for more potential employers to join the fair! If you are interested, please email me (augusta.maguire@morgan.edu) and I will let you know as soon as we have set a new date for the fair.

We hope to see you all at the First Annual Morgan Community Mile Summit this Saturday, April 25th.

Morgan Community Mile Summit

Hello, friends of the Morgan Community Mile! We are holding the first annual Morgan Community Mile Summit on Saturday, April 25th, and would like to invite all of you to join us! We want to let you know what we’ve been up to for the last year, and we’d like to hear your thoughts on how we can improve in the next year, and years to come. Click the flyer image below for more details.

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Morgan Community Mile Green Jobs Fair

This coming Tuesday, April 21, the Morgan Community Mile is partnering with Baltimore GreenWeek to put on a Green Jobs Fair at Morgan State University. The event will be held, fittingly, in the Center for the Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies Building, which is one of the top ranked green college buildings in the country. This event is open to both Morgan State students and the public. Through this event, the Morgan Community Mile hopes to not only connect job seekers with employers, but show Morgan students and other attendees the kinds of jobs that are available in the “green collar” sector. Environmentally friendly, and environmentally focused jobs are no longer just for tree huggers–more and more businesses are going green as we face the unmistakable consequences of the alternative. Be part of the solution! Come to the MCM Green Jobs Fair!
See the flyer here!

MCM at Morgan’s 5th Innovation Day!

Yesterday, a contingent from the Morgan Community Mile traveled to Annapolis for Morgan Innovation Day, an event at which Morgan students, faculty, and staff, and those working in connected programs, show off their contributions to Morgan and beyond over the past year. The event was attended by notable members of the state government, including the lieutenant governor, as well as Morgan’s own President, Dr. Wilson, and other key Morgan administrators. Dr. Victor McCrary, the university’s Vice President of the Department of Research and Economic Development, seemed to be everywhere–proudly surveying the scene.

Accompanying Ellis Brown, Katina Burley, and Gussie Maguire, the core of the MCM, were students Blake Fisher and Kevin Flournoy, both of whom work with Professor Sen on planning and economic development in the area around Morgan. Mike Hilliard, Secretary of the MCM Board, also attended. Everyone conversed animatedly with interested attendees about their projects and the virtues of the Morgan Community Mile.

Morgan Innovation Day was a resounding success, demonstrating the incredible, creative, intelligent minds at Morgan, and their potential to impact not only the school, the city, and the state of Maryland, but the nation as well.

Below is the video shown at the MCM’s table at Morgan Innovation Day!
MCM Morgan Innovation Day

StreamWalk Project Stakeholders’ Meeting

Happy New Year, everyone!

We at the Morgan Community Mile are very excited for the work we will be doing this year. To kick things off, we are having a stakeholders’ meeting for people who are interested in becoming a key part of the StreamWalk Project. We need support from the community as well as from the university to make our goal a reality, so we are reaching out to everyone who has the knowledge, skills, or just the positive attitude to drive us forward!

Speaking at the event will be the lead on the project, Gussie Maguire, and Rails to Trails trail-building expert Jim Brown.

The event will be held on Thursday, February 5th from 6:30-8:30, in the University Student Center, Room 316. The building is numbered 12 on this map. Please RSVP to augusta.maguire@morgan.edu if you are able to attend!

We hope to see you there!

Invasive Plant Removal

Earlier this fall, Morgan Community Mile Director Ellis Brown, along with several Morgan students and community members, participated in an invasive plant removal in the stream valleys of the Chinquapin Run and Herring Run. Much of the stream valleys is overrun with English ivy, an invasive plant that grows both on the ground and on trees, and kills trees by blocking light from reaching their leaves. The added weight of the vines makes the trees more likely to fall, creating a hazard. Invasive plant removal is a key factor in watershed restoration, as it allows the native plants to thrive.

Fallen trees weakened by English ivy.
Fallen trees weakened by English ivy.
English ivy on a living tree.
English ivy on a living tree.

The volunteers attacked the English ivy near the roots of the vines, clipping them near the ground and then removing as much of the ivy as possible from the trees’ trunks. Vines that had climbed out of reach would die without their connection to their roots, and as they withered, the trees’ leaves would once again be exposed to crucial sunlight.

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Students hard at work, removing English ivy.
Students hard at work, removing English ivy.

The volunteers cleared ivy from many trees, but much work remains to be done. In addition to English ivy, invasive plants including kudzu and porcelainberry have also taken over trees and ground cover in the Chinquapin Run and Herring Run stream valleys. The Morgan Community Mile looks forward to returning to remove even more invasive plants.

Small But Successful Stream Cleanup

This past Saturday, November 22nd, I (Gussie Maguire) and Ellis Brown of the Morgan Community Mile joined forces with four intrepid volunteers to remove trash from the junction of the Chinquapin Run and Herring Run on Morgan State’s campus. We met at the Communications Building at 9am, dressed in layers of warm clothes to protect us from the frosty air. The first volunteer to arrive was my very own mother, a longtime resident of East Baltimore with a passion for the environment. Soon to follow were Treyvon, a member of the Campus 100, and Xavier, a brother of Beta Alpha Psi. We donned our work gloves, loaned to us from BlueWater Baltimore, and sallied forth, under the footbridge connecting the northernmost buildings to the rest of campus, down to the Chinquapin Run.

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Before we even reached the stream, we encountered litter scattered beneath the bridge–Doritos bags, candy wrappers, and cups from what seemed to be every well-known coffee chain. There was even a traffic cone suspended in a tree above the stream, supported by invasive vines. We removed what we could (though the traffic cone proved too difficult to reach without additional tools) and continued to our destination. Once we reached the intersection of the streams, we set straight to work. For the most part, large debris in the stream channels was limited. The majority of trash was plastic bags and bottles, tangled and embedded in the streams’ banks. However, we did encounter some surprisingly large objects. First, Treyvon, Xavier and I attacked a half-submerged lawnmower–yes, a lawnmower. Shockingly, there was a second lawnmower, though that one proved to be too tightly wedged for us to remove it. We plan to return in the spring with reinforcements, and maybe some metal shears.

Xavier, hard at work!
Xavier, hard at work!

Shortly after pulling out the lawnmower, we were joined in our efforts by Chaz, a second volunteer from the Campus 100. Work continued for another two hours, during which we collectively removed 15 trash bags full of waste, the lawnmower, a tire, part of a shopping cart, what appeared to be part of an old mattress, a (lead?) pipe, PVC pipe, a broomstick, and half a plastic chair. By 12pm, we had transported our findings back to the parking lot at which we started, where we waited for the city to remove the garbage.

The spoils of war.
The spoils of war!

Despite the small number of volunteers, we made a significant dent in the amount of trash at our location. However, we were only working in a small area. A hop, skip, and a jump away from our site, the streams still desperately need our help to relieve them of their plastic burden. We intend to return to the site in the spring, fortified by better weather and more volunteers.