On November 14th, Dupont Rotary participated in a clean-up at the Kennilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in Northeast D.C. We were joined by youth from BEST Kids, who we partner with on a regular basis, in addition to student conservation groups. Although I had lived in Washington, D.C. for ten years and had heard of the aquatic gardens before, I had never visited them—which is a shame, because it really is a beautiful little oasis in a busy part of the city. That is one of the things I like about Rotary—it gets me to places where I have not been before and gives me opportunities to help out, both in my own backyard and around the world.
We divided into groups; some put on waders and were cleaning out debris from the ponds, others were doing trash pick up. Our group cleared out invasive vines that were choking native trees. Clearing the vines took a bit of effort but left the trees healthier and the park looking better. In the process, we learned which plants were native to the area.
It was a worthwhile service project for both Rotarians and the other volunteers alike, and I'd be happy to volunteer at Kennilworth or any other park in the future. If you haven't visited the aquatic gardens, think about a picnic. The riverside path is closed for upgrading, but you can still walk amongst all the aquatic gardens, some of which have massive lilly pads.