On August 28, Blue Water Baltimore hosted nearly 500 students, faculty, and staff from Goucher College for a day of service in South Baltimore.
Goucher Connects, a one day orientation event that connects first-year students to each other, faculty, staff, and community organizations in the Baltimore area, is organized by the Office for Community Based Learning at the College.
In the past, Goucher has worked with Blue Water Baltimore and our partners on a variety of projects. This year we hosted the entire incoming class in hopes of strengthening our relationship to one another.
Pollution Reduction and Community Forestry
Four Baltimore City park sites, including Broening, Cherry Hill, Ferry Bar, and Middle Branch, were selected for pollution reduction and community forestry activities.
By the end of the day, we removed over 12,000 pounds of trash,
recycled a quarter of that trash, and watered, fenced and mulched
more than 85 trees.
Prior to their arrival, students attended a presentation on watershed health and the history of the area. After the activities, participants broke into smaller discussion groups for reflection on their day of service in cleaning up our urban environment.
Reflection of Our Urban Environment
During reflection there was a strong emphasis on the importance of sustained work, public greenspaces in our urban communities, and addressing the challenges of our urban environment.
We asked the students, “was there a particular piece of trash that made you mad today?” Many students responded, loudly, with the types of trash that were found the most of on the shorelines which included, Styrofoam, plastic bottles, and plastic bags.
A large number of out-of-state students shared stories about their hometowns and support for legislation that banned the production of these items or offered incentives for residents to live without them.
Some of the in-state students compared their experiences to those that they had on the other side of the Baltimore Harbor, Fells Point, Federal Hill, and Canton. With help of Goucher faculty, we were also able to make connections between environmental and social justice.
Goucher, located in Towson, is part of our urban watershed. Our staff was happy to put their new home in Baltimore in context and share our mission with a group of young scholars.