Tuesday, Dec. 1, 7:30 – 9:15 p.m. via Zoom
(Link will be sent to database & listserv, and by request.)
Speaker: Maryland Master Naturalist and science educator Paula Wang
Spring ephemerals, vernal pools and birdsongs. Fall foliage. What about winter? It has its own interesting natural phenomena--among the trees, on the forest floor, and birds you can actually see now that the leaves are gone. Paula has captured it all in pictures. Please join us to sharpen your powers of observation for your winter walks!
About Paula: Paula is a science educator with over 35 years of experience teaching biology, environmental science, ecology, and science education. For over 25 years, she has been active in the Audubon Naturalist Society, both as member and volunteer, serving as a team leader in the ANS Water Quality Monitoring Program. In 2014, Paula completed the ANS Maryland Master Naturalist Program and has logged over 1,000 hours as a volunteer naturalist with ANS and the Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge. More recently, in 2019, Paula earned certification as a Mindful Outdoor Guide from the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. She practices and teaches yoga and meditation and unsurprisingly, spends most of her free time outdoors—hiking, kayaking, and observing and identifying local flora and fauna.
Over at the Lamberton Tributary, 15 volunteers worked for an hour and a half collecting 10 bags of trash and 7 of recyclables. This was actually less trash than in previous cleanups here. Whoopee! Video by Ed Murtagh.
Olivia Anderson, Project Coordinator and Development Lead at the Anacostia Riverkeeper, gave an overview of the Anacostia Riverkeeper water quality monitoring program and results from May through August 2020 for e-coli bacteria, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, and some other measures. Monitoring sites include ones on the Northwest Branch and Sligo Creek. Robbie O'Donnell, Watershed Programs Manager, joined Olivia for an extensive Q & A. Four NNWB members have been part of this program.
You'll find a link to the recorded presentation and Q & A here. Use Passcode: 4WH$#UDM.
And if you'd like to zero in on a particular slide, you can download a pdf of the Power Point presentation from the button below. You can also view the most current e-coli results from our water quality monitoring below that. Anacostia Riverkeeper's current water quality monitoring schedule ended with this sampling.
Ryan Colliton, program manager for the Vegetation Ecology and Management Program at Montgomery Parks. and Corinne Stephens, the Weed Warrior Coordinator, presented proposed updates to the Weed Warrior program and to the 2009 vegetation management plan for parks. The presentation slides can be downloaded from the button below. Big plans are in the works for a powerful Weed Warrior program once training can again take place!
Earlier plans: the 2009 Vegetation Management Plan ; The 2013 Natural Resources Management Plan. It describes all the major habitats in the county and lists links to all the management plans (for deer and streams, for example).
At our Feb. 4 meeting, Dr. Kathleen Michels described the toxic effects of microplastic pollution on aquatic life and seabirds. Dr. Michels stressed that plastic pollution includes the broken bits and dissolved toxins from artificial turf. She displayed samples of the rug of plastic grass and the pulverized used tire crumbs that most often serve as infill for cushioning and to hold the blades up. Soccer fields contain roughly 675,000 square yards, or 40,000 pounds, of carpet with 400,000 pounds of infill. By the time the turf is too worn to use, a lot of the "grass" blades and much of the infill has already left the field and entered our waterways. But disposal of the rest is a serious problem, since it is not currently recyclable in the U.S. Other microplastics are the result of the breakdown of larger plastic objects such as our ubiquitous plastic bags.
Unfortunately, none of the bills that would have reduced plastic pollution managed to pass the shortened session of the Maryland Legislature, even the balloon release ban, which had seemed very promising. However, a similar balloon release ban is still awaiting action in the Montgomery County Council. Please let your state and county legislators know you support reducing killer plastic pollution, and we'll try again next year.
Find your legislators at MDelect.net. Use your right to be heard!
The absurdity of wasting scarce education money on these fields has been captured by the comic strip Big Nate. In case you missed it, here's the URL. https://www.gocomics.com/bignate/2020/05/08.
Rolls of syn turf taken from a Bethesda E.S. awaiting disposal...somewhere. Photo by Amanda Farber.
Chuck Kines, Montgomery County Parks Planner/Coordinator, updated us on the thinking behind the update of the Wheaton Park Master Plan. Although a regional park, Wheaton must also function as a local park, as it lies in a densely populated area. His slide presentation, downloadable below, included maps and demographics. The Parks Department is in the early stages of planning and welcomes input from park users.
Our October 1 program featured Mr. Charles Kines, AICP, CPRP, Park Planning Coordinator, who explained the Montgomery County pilot program allowing mechanized bikes and scooters on paved park trails. If you missed the program, you can find information about it on the MoCo Parks website at: Montgomery County's pilot program to allow mechanized bikes and scooters on paved park trails. You can also find the slides from Mr. Kines' presentation linked below. (Photo by Laura Turbe of a scooter abandoned beside Pine Lake in Wheaton Regional Park.)
FEATURED SPEAKER Tiffany Boone-Hines, a Montgomery Blair High School student, spoke about her participation in One Montgomery Green's Clean Headwaters Program and what she has learned about the impact of plastics waste in marine environments through her hands-on study of the Northwest Branch and its tributaries.
Overall, plastic micro- and macro-pollution in waterways is a huge problem, and the Northwest Branch has its share of plastic waste. The team, using a sieve to isolate particles which they then viewed under a microscope, found tiny bits of plastic foam and synthetic fibers. Rather than rely on recycling plastics, we must reduce our use in the first place. It appears that our removal of all those plastic bottles and cups from the NWB has been beneficial, however, as the amount of particles in the water was not overwhelming. The slides from Tiffany's presentation can be viewed below.
One Montgomery Green is a local nonprofit fostering partnerships to support environmental sustainability and promote the development of a green economy.