August 2020 Newsletter
Eagle Scout Candidate is for the Birds
After volunteering at a Gunpowder Valley Conservancy (GVC) Tree Maintenance event, Reid Austin knew that he wanted to work with the GVC for his Eagle Scout project. Reid, pictured above in his bright yellow GVC volunteer shirt, is a member of Boy Scout Troop 444 in Phoenix, MD.

Over the past year, Reid has built 30 nest boxes and 10 bird platforms to enhance bird habitat within Loch Raven Reservoir. His bird box project was designed to accommodate a variety of native birds, including Eastern Bluebird, Carolina Chickadee, White-Breasted Nuthatch, and Northern Cardinal. He wanted to create bird habitat after learning that birds are crucial to the growth, maintenance, and re-establishment of forest ecosystems.

While Reid is wrapping up the installation phase of his project, he already is thinking about the future! Reid will be working with GVC staff to establish an "Adopt-a-Birdhouse" program to recruit volunteers to help maintain the bird boxes. More details coming this fall!
"My love for science and animals, with my desire to help protect one of our most valued resources, comes together for this meaningful project. Forests provide essential elements for our survival. Birds are a crucial part of the forest ecosystem. This symbiotic cycle has to be preserved. Each person needs to do their part, to ensure the preservation of our communities and human existence!" Reid Austin, GVC volunteer
GVC Works with Local Winery for Clean Water
GVC staff recently had the pleasure of installing 4 rain barrels at Dejon Vineyards as part of the GVC's rain barrel program, which features repurposed plastic barrels donated by McCormick and Company, Inc. The property is adjacent to Long Green Creek, a tributary of the Big Gunpowder Falls, so it should come as no surprise that clean water is important to owners, Denise McCloskey and John Wilkerson.

Twenty years ago when they first bought the property it was managed for beef cattle. Denise and John's first conservation action was to create a separate system for the cattle to access water without going into the streams. They have since worked with Ecotone to restore 20 acres of wetland habitat as well as place their entire farm (44 acres) in the Baltimore County Land Preservation program.

When the farm switched over to a winery in 2010, Denise and John started accumulating wine barrels on-site and storing them for various uses. "We talked about having rain barrels, but didn't do anything about it," explains Denise, "until Charlie Conklin [from GVC] visited us one day and told us about using them for rain barrels." Now the rain barrels on-site will help water their gardens and prevent run-off into Long Green Creek. Additional barrels from Dejon Vineyards have been donated to GVC for its rain barrel program, as well as a local Eagle Scout who is planning to create rain barrels himself.

Cheers to Dejon Vineyards for being great environmental stewards working to improve the health of the Gunpowder watershed!
Upcoming Calendar of Events
Get outdoors and make a difference! Our fall season is starting early and will be full of events in September and October. Make sure to sign up and reserve your spot. We are limiting the number of volunteers at each event in accordance with our COVID-19 guidelines.

Saturday, Sept. 5: Tree Maintenance
Saturday, Sept. 12: Rain Garden workshop
Sunday, Sept. 13: Tree Maintenance
Sunday, Sept. 20: Tree Maintenance
Saturday, Sept. 26: Rain Garden workshop
Saturday, Sept. 26: Tree Planting
Sunday, Sept. 27: Tree Maintenance
Get Ready for Better Waterways
Have you witnessed the increase in the amount of trash in our neighborhoods and parks since March? As more people have been seeking a safe escape from isolation outside during the pandemic, our common grounds and waterways have unfortunately been showing the effects of this increased traffic.

For this reason, GVC is opening up our fall Better Waterways Clean-up window for a three-month period--September through November--and encouraging our volunteer Stream Captains to visit their sites more than once this fall.

Stay tuned as we add stream clean-up events to our online calendar of events!