The Whale Pond Brook Watershed Association hosted a clean up to remove invasive species from around the brook, and cover the banks of the brook with mulch so that next planting season, the plants would be easier to handle. The clean up was from 10 am – 1 pm, along the Whale Pond Brook, just east of campus, on October 18. The University Environmental Club was supposed to help assist with the clean up, however there was only one student at the clean up.
Mitchell Mickley, a junior, majoring in Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy, was the only student from the University who attended the clean up, and wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, he arrived to the clean up eager to lend a helping hand, because, he said, “everyone talks about [cleaning up the environment] but no one wants to get their hands dirty.”
Brett Gilmartin, the Environmental Club president commented on the low turnout and stated, “I am sorry I could not give you a fair representation of the environmental club today. There was so little turnout because of the time, and lack of E-Board. Unfortunately the community chose to do the clean up during a time the entire E-Board, and 10 other members were in a meeting for their Marine Biology Major, therefore I am not disappointed with the turnout.”
Besides Mitchell, there were a lot of members from the Whale Pond Brook Watershed Association at the clean up volunteering their time to the beautification of the environment. Faith Teitelbaum, a community member who is a member of the Whale Pond Brook Watershed Association, was the person in charge of the event. Faith took part in the clean up by identifying native species to the brook, as well as removing the invasive species from the banks. Faith as well as the other volunteers were placing cardboard down around the banks where they removed the invasive plants, and placed mulch on top of the card board, because the card board would suppress the growth of the invasive plants, so that in the next planting season, the area would be easier to maintain and plant new plants. Faith also had a blueprint of the brook, and what the Whale Pond Brook Watershed Association planned to do with the area. Faith’s blueprint proposal involved the planting of more native species on the banks of the brook, and also plant bushes in the immediate area, and also have benches placed by the brook, with two trails leading from the street to the brook. There is also plans to set up a bike trail along the brook that will run just west of the University. The main goal of the project Faith said, was to “ highlight that this is and important and historical part of the environment.” Across from where the clean up took place, there is a 140 year old building which added to the historical value of the brook, which Faith, as well as the rest of the Whale Pond Brook Watershed Association wanted to highlight.
Lisa Bagwell, who is the manager of the community gardens in the City of Long Branch, was also in attendance. Lisa, who is a friend of Faith, took the initiative to get out and help with the beautification of the environment. Lisa feels it is “important to increase beautification, there is not enough beauty in our environment.”
This clean up is part of a larger project that includes a full clean up and restoration of the brook. It is also in the same sense a demo project, for educational purposes, to learn how to effectively propagate native species. Similar projects, namely one on Deal Lake that took place last year, which was not headed by the Whale Pond Brook Watershed Association, was a failure, because of the lack of mulching and the lack of active nurturing. This project is funded by the 5 cities that the brook runs through: Long Branch, West Long Branch, Ocean Eatontown and Tinton Falls. These 5 cities have it as part of their budget to contribute to the beautification and restoration of the environment.
The Whale Pond Brook Watershed Association will be conducting more clean ups and beautification related outings coming up in the near future. If you want to get involved you can access their website at www.restorethewatershed.com, and take some time out to better our environment. Also, if you want to get involved with the University Environmental club you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or attend weekly meetings in Bey Hall room 132 Wednesdays at 2:30 pm. “To enhance our environment doesn’t take much”, Faith said, quoting Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”