Groundwork USA Newsletter                                                   Spring 2011
Hello Everyone,
We have enjoyed hearing from our Trusts across the country, and are thrilled to share news of many exciting projects and programs across the Groundwork USA network.

On our end, GWUSA and River Network recently completed the Urban Waters Capacity Building grant-making process, and awarded $50,000 - $60,000 each to five winning organizations. Congratulations to GW Buffalo, one of those successful applicants! Overall, we received 120 grant proposals-- and many Groundwork Trusts that applied were finalists. Representatives from those Trusts will be participating in River Network's River Rally, taking place in North Carolina this coming June. 

This week Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (D-MA) hosted a press event to announce the "Groundwork USA Act of 2011" bill she's sponsoring in Congress this session. In conjunction with GW Lawrence, the event was held at the recently-constructed Manchester Street Park along the Spicket River. If passed, this legislation would provide support for continued replication of the Groundwork model in communities across the US, as well as continued capacity-building support for existing trusts in the network. Please contact the Groundwork USA office if your Congressional representative is interested in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation so we can put him/her in contact with Representative Tsongas' staff.


GWUSA's Board of Directors' Retreat is taking place in Yonkers, New York, on May 19th and 20th this week. The goal is to set the strategic agenda for the national organization over the next 1-3 years. We will keep you posted on what emerges from the meeting.

Finally, as a reminder, the dates for GWUSA's Annual Assembly and Youth Summit in Denver, Colorado are September 14th-18th, 2011 (the Youth Summit ends on the 17th). Stay tuned for more details about travel arrangements and logistics.


We will be in touch with you over the next few months about what we are working on for the network.

In the meantime, we hope you have a fun and productive summer! 

The GWUSA Team - Rick, Anjali, Kate, & Curt
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In This Issue
GW Dallas Cleans Out Tires from the Trinity Forest
GW Wyoming County Starts Work on Restoring Lake
GW Hudson Valley Brings in Goats!
GW Denver Wants Us To Drive Less
GW Elizabeth Organizes City-wide Bike Tour
Earth Day at GW Anacostia River, D.C.
GW Gary & Michael Jackson!
GW Buffalo: Zen & Now
GW Portland's Outdoor Classrooms

Groundwork News

As part of Operation A.C.T. (A Clean Trinity), GW Dallas has been organizing clean-ups of Bruton Bottoms, an area of the Great Trinity Forest that is located in a flood plain connected to three different eco-systems, including White Rock Creek. This area has been contaminated by years of neglect and illegal dumping. 


GW Dallas is working with the North Texas Mountain Bike Patrol and the City of Dallas to clean up this area and build multi-use trails for use by Dallas residents. 

 Earth Day Tire Clean-up in Dallas

During their most recent clean-up in March this year, GW Dallas Executive Director Peter Payton estimated they cleaned out about 2,000 tires, filling up two 40-yard dumpsters!  Youth and volunteers fromt the North Texas Mountain Bike Patrol, the North Texas Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Episcopalian Church joined GW Dallas in their successful clean-up.


Click here for more about GW Dallas.  

GW Wyoming County's Horse Creek Lake Revitalization Project

Working with a dedicated group of community members, Groundwork Wyoming County (GWWC) and partner, the Upper Guyandotte Watershed Association are leading the revitalization of Horse Creek Lake, a once prime recreation location for local anglers, families, and community organizations.Horse Creek 1


Horse Creek Lake is a five acre lake that was once a prime recreation location for County residents. The site boasted camping, picnicking, fishing, hiking, and swimming. Today, the site is overgrown and lacking all types of facilities, including trash cans, picnic tables, and accessible walking paths. 

GWWC's goal is to enhance recreation and education opportunities at the Lake while remediating any environmental hazards that are present.

A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment has been completed and GWWC is working with its partners and commnity members to begin work. Many successful Volunteer Cleanup and Trail Clearing days have been held at the lake to remove trash and brush from the dam and existing walking path, and residents are excitedly looking ahead to the day when the Lake will become a premier recreation space for them.

For more about GW Wyoming County's programs and projects, click here.


GW Hudson Valley Brings in the Goats!  

To conclude this year's Earth Month, Groundwork Hudson Valley hosted an invasive vine workshop. Lower Hudson Valley residents and stakeholders along the Saw Mill River participated in the workshop to help develop a long-term action plan to eliminate the dangerous invasive vines that are destroying native habitat. These species are choking the Saw Mill River ecosystem and compromising the health of the trees. Dying trees pose a threat to the adjacent parkway and trailway, the people that use them, and the river habitat that plants and animals depend on for their survival.


GWHV partnered with the Greenburgh Nature Center, where they raise goats among many other animals. One of the many solutions GWHV is considering, in dealing with the threat of invasive vines, is using goats. Goats love invasive vines and can eat through large tracts of (even thorny) vines in short periods of time.


GWHV will be following up on these and other great ideas that workshop participants discussed.  The workshop was very well attended and included community members, volunteers, students, Westchester County Parks Officials, NY State DOT officials, conservationists, ecologists, municipal leaders, local landscapers, and business owners.


This past weekend, GWHV organized its Second Annual Great Saw Mill River Clean-Up, which involved organizing hundreds of community members and volunteers into groups cleaning up sections of the Saw Mill River watershed. The AmeriCorps team currently working with GWHV have also made a big dent in the vines and were a huge help in the weekend's clean-up. Although Sunday was rained out, Emily Eder of GWHV who organized much of it, says Saturday's clean-up went off smoothly. As she says, "If everyone works a little towards solving the problem, we can achieve a lot." Click here for more about GWHV's programs.



GW Denver 'Strives to Not Drive' for Earth Day

GW Denver called on Denver residents to try alternative transportation in honor of Earth Day. In teams of two, volunteers went door-to-door for a few assigned blocks, offering incentives and resources to help people cut down on their driving. Here are some of the exciting things that were on offer:

- A free gift of a pedometer, bike light safety band, or bus tickets to motivate people to give alternative transportation a try.

- Free bike maps, bus maps, walking tour information, mobile apps information and more. Residents will sign up for these items from a menu of options. Their choices will be hand delivered to their doors within a week.

- A Strive to Not Drive coupon with great incentives from the local businesses, like discounted food, drinks and services for people who walk, bike or take transit on Earth Day weekend.

- An invitation to get flat bike tires fixed for free


 All in all, GW Denver had an incredible week in honor of Earth Day.  More than 270 volunteers planted 130 trees, swapped out 476 inefficient porch light bulbs to efficient compact fluorescent bulbs, brought alternative transportation resources to over 3,000 households, and fixed up 18 bikes. This one week of action will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 350 tons!

For more about GW Denver's exciting programs, click here.



GW Elizabeth Co-hosts 8th Annual Bike Tour de Elizabeth 

Last Year's Tour de Elizabeth

This year, as Elizabeth has always been a welcoming home to an immigrant population, the burgeoning Tour's theme is "Elizabeth, NJ's melting pot". Members of many of the area's social clubs from Europe, Latin America, Asia, will be on hand to share how their heritage has been adopted into America's social and food life.

Officially hosted by the Mayor, the City, Groundwork Elizabeth, the Greater Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce, the two Special Improvement Districts and the Elizabeth Urban Enterprise Zone Program, the cost of putting on the Tour is largely underwritten by the support of sponsorships from the public and private community. All interested sponsors receive a generous amount of recognition for their efforts.

Riders can download an application form and register here, or the City of Elizabeth's website at For those interested in becoming sponsors, they may e-mail or call Jonathan Phillips at 908-289-0262.




Washington, D.C. Earth Day Clean-Up

Hundreds of volunteers came out to join Groundwork Anacostia River D.C. (GWARDC) on the Earth Day Clean-up that took place at 20 locations along the shores of the Anacostia River in the District of Columbia, Prince George's and Montgomery Counties.  There was much concern that this event would not take place and many volunteers were rerouted to alternative sites due to the looming federal shutdown, as many of the clean-up sites were located on federal lands.  


GWARDC and nearly 30 volunteers took on the challenge of cleaning the flowing waters of and community around Nash Run, located adjacent to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Northeast DC.  


Volunteers retrieved approximately 1900 pounds of bulk trash, which included some interesting items like toilets, televisions, lawn chairs, a refrigerator, computer monitor, gas meters, van seats, a couch, a fish tank, mattresses, rugs and even a bathroom sink.  They also removed 30 tires weighing nearly 750 pounds. There were also 60 bags of recyclable and non-recyclable trash recovered.  Our volunteers removed almost 6 tons of trash.  


The best quote of the day was, "It looks like someone came in and dumped their entire house!" GWARDC would like to thank all of the volunteers that made this event a success.  Everyone did a great job!


Click here for more about GWARDC's other exciting programs.  



GW Gary & Michael Jackson!

We (at GWUSA) recently found out that GW Gary was involved in improving Michael Jackson's childhood home in 2009 and 2010. Even though this is 'old' news, we thought you may enjoy hearing about it.  The site of Michael Jackson's childhood home on 2300 Jackson Street in Gary, Indiana became a destination for thousands of his fans after his death in June 2009. 

In 2009


In partnership with the City of Gary, TU Bloom, and Michael Jackson's mother, GW Gary cleaned up and landscaped the front yard and vastly improved its appearance, reflecting its value as a historical and tourist site for the City of Gary.

















For more about GW Gary's projects and programs, click here

From GW Buffalo's Kevin Powers...


Zen & Now:

GW Buffalo and the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts

With Groundwork Buffalo's help, what used to be an empty and unused courtyard at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts (PS 192) is being transformed into a series of gardens designed to provide outdoor classroom space and inviting and inspiring natural places for students to study, reflect, and explore.


The first phase of the courtyard garden was the installation of a Japanese-style Zen Garden during the fall of 2010. We're happy to report that the garden weathered the harsh Buffalo winter well and is now a calm and quiet space for reflection and meditation. 


 But don't let that calm Zen attitude fool you! We've got a lot of energy and momentum driving us forward to continue our transformation of the Arts Academy courtyard. Ground Buffalo is excited to announce that we helped the Arts Academy secure a $5,000 Lowe's Toolbox for Education Grant to continue our work. What will the next phase of the courtyard garden project look like? It could be a vegetable garden alongside the cafeteria, a native meadow, or a European-style garden that complements the school's focus on the arts -Groundwork Buffalo is working with Arts Academy students to decide. We'll keep you all posted on our progress!



For more about GW Buffalo's great programs, click here.  

Portland's Emerson Street Garden Begins Outdoor Classrooms 

Second and third graders at King School are GW Portland's first Green Team class in the Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) Program, co-taught by art teacher Suzy Root and community member Joe Sneed.  The class is learning how to grow food using the Emerson Street Garden as the place to enhance their educational experience.  Emerson is a community-led garden in the King Neighborhood that GW Portland was instrumental in converting from a vacant, contaminated lot. The students are also learning about the recent history of the N/NE neighborhoods as a once predominantly black community and how to grow food from community elders sharing their stories and advice.  Green Team youth will will transform these stories into artwork for the Emerson Street Garden.  


Emerson garden volunteer Joanne Greene lives on 9th and Sumner and showed the kids her garden. "I enjoyed the kids and working with them", Joanne said.   "While we were standing outside, some worms started popping up.  They were extremely excited about the worms! It helped me to learn, because they new more about worms than I did.  I also shared about my mom and what all she planted and how she ate vegetables and lived to be 91.  The kids started saying they'd eat their vegetables too."  


King SUN Program Coordinator, Carissa Thomas, is interested in working with partners to continue the class through summer school in July and long-term. This inter-generational exchange should continue through this summer, with many community members interested in sharing their stories and knowledge with the students at King. 


Kids from da Vinci Arts Middle School and 8th graders from King School have also been involved in outdoor classroon at Emerson Garden. Science teacher Derek Grant is teaching King School 8th Graders about the design cycle in a new International Baccalaureate Technology and Design course.  Student representatives Kevan and Eddie attended the last Emerson Working Group to present their class' initial ideas for the Using math and science skills, students will work with engineers from the City of Portland Water Bureau to effectively design an outdoor learning center at the Emerson Street Garden that serves people of all ages and can be used for a variety of educational and learning opportunities.  Local community members with construction skills will work with the students in the next several weeks to create the final product on site. 


For more information about GW Portland and their great programs, click here.


Groundwork USA newsletter edited by Anjali Chen.
Groundwork USA, 22 Main St., 2nd Floor, Yonkers, NY 10701