Never Too Young to Make a Difference


NWF Volunteers at Truxton Park
Volunteers of all ages at Truxton Park

Annapolis Recreation and Parks and National Wildlife Federation’s Chesapeake Mid-Atlantic Regional Centercollaborated on a restoration project at Truxtun Park on Aug. 16, spreading woodchips along two heavily used trails, cleaning up trash along the water trail, and placing grass seed and straw at the entrance to the trail.

Kids at Work

No fewer than 35 Cub Scouts from Annapolis Pack 366, kids and parents brought shovels and rakes to get the work done.  The project is part of a larger initiative to certify Annapolis, MD as an NWF Community Wildlife Habitat.

As we gathered at the head of the trail, Marisa Wittlinger, Environmental Programs Coordinator for City of Annapolis, highlighted the importance of the restoration work. She talked of erosion and how sediment and trash enters the local waterways through run-off. She spoke of solutions to erosion problems and gave examples of how the work they would be doing would impact the health of the Bay. After thanking the kids and handing out gloves, shovels, and rakes, we set out on the first trail.

Truxton Park Volunteers
Trash clean-up along an eroded water trail.

Never Too Young to Start!

For most of the kids, some as young as 3 years old, it was the first time they had volunteered. Speaking with parents as we moved along the trail, I heard the same message, “It feels great getting my kids outside doing this kind of work. I would have never guessed they could have so much fun with a shovel!”

Throughout the morning I overheard kids talking about erosion and pollution, sophisticated topics for 7- and 8-year-olds.

“This is really sad how people leave their trash. Don’t they know it is going in the water?”, asked one of the boys.

“In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we understand only what we are taught.” – Baba Dioum

Planning for Our Future

Throughout the morning, teachable moments presented themselves. NWF and Annapolis Recreation and Parks’ staff answered questions about what kids were seeing in the nature around them. Using nature as an “outdoor classroom”, staff pointed out areas of extreme erosion and how it impacts trees’ root systems. At the conclusion of the morning’s work, we gathered at the trail head.  It was clear from looking at these proud kids that we had started them on a journey of becoming future stewards of our environment.

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