On Saturday, April 10th, a dazzling and cool spring morning, Greenway volunteers gathered along the Columbia Street section of the route, ready to work. Over two dozen enthusiastic and energetic people turned out – a record to date! The diverse group of volunteers included members of the Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association (CWNA), neighborhood residents and families, and two students doing community service work as part of their school programs.

Eager early birds were off and running to Degraw Street with bags and trash grabbers to gather scattered litter along the route, setting the tone for the day. Dozens of dumped fluorescent light bulbs on Degraw Street were also carefully removed and placed in a dumpster. The main challenge of the day, however, was redistributing two substantial pyramids of mulch, freshly delivered by the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, into the tree pits along Columbia Street, all the way from Atlantic Avenue to Degraw Street.

Brian McCormick, BGI co-founder, gave a brief primer on the fine points of prepping a tree pit, which involves gently aerating the soil and then creating a “well” to capture rainwater. Once the work began, people of all ages with mulch-laden orange 5-gallon buckets could be observed moving along the length of Columbia Street, creating a surreal and colorful spectacle. The volunteer crew was unstoppable, and the morning culminated in a furious frenzy of activity to get the last of the mulch distributed before a promised lunch break. Pizza delivery arrived soon afterward and, like the mulch, was quickly devoured!

Special thanks to the Home Depot Foundation and Waste Management for sponsoring our 2010 community stewardship programs, and also to Wiley Goodman and NYC DPR for providing the mulch. Stay tuned for details regarding next month’s Columbia Street Greenway Clean-Up. We’re now plotting to take the Greenway to yet another level. Flowers anyone?

Photo by Barbara Torres.

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