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The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation partnered with Anacostia Riverkeeper and Rebuilding Together DC for the fourth annual Green Up Day on Friday, August 17. The groups solicited 95 volunteers from local businesses, the military and community groups in the Nationals Park neighborhood and beyond. The mission: to rebuild natural barriers around lily ponds at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, remove invasive plant species and prepare the area for new plantings that will prevent future erosion.

The Gardens are an important part of DC’s ecosystem. Part of the only remaining tidal marsh in Washington, D.C., the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens serve as the flood plain for the area and its ponds preserve rare water lilies and lotuses and provide crucial habitat for plants, fish, birds mammals and reptiles.

Volunteers designated as members of “log crews” donned hip waders to install twenty 10' X 16" diameter coconut fiber Coir erosion control logs in two ponds, and pounded in 120 oak stakes to secure a total of 200 linear feet of logs. Other volunteers shoveled soil into wheelbarrows and transported it along the edges of the ponds where it backfilled the gap between the logs and existing shoreline, and was then tamped into place. A total of 51 cubic yards of soil was installed and compacted over an expanse of 145 linear feet correcting the erosion and extending the banks of the ponds 2 to 4 feet – a massive achievement. Another group of volunteers removed 15.5 cubic yards of Purple Loosestrife, an invasive plant species, from the work area.

Presenting sponsor Waste Management handled the pick-up and disposal of all debris using their Bagster® collection bags, and provided Green Up Day t-shirts for all volunteers. Hard Times Cafe generously donated lunch to all volunteers at Nationals Park immediately following the completion of the work.

The largest volunteer groups were: Alion Science and Technology; U.S. Coast Guard; U.S. Air Force; and Washington Nationals front office staff. Additionally, many individuals volunteered in response to Facebook and Twitter outreach by Anacostia Riverkeeper, Rebuilding Together DC and the Dream Foundation.

Congratulations to all for a memorable and effective Green Up Day 2012!

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