Service Corps Stories: Helping Habitats at Crane Beach, by Emily Mevers

Emily Mevers has been a member of the Service Corps since December 2014. In her two years as a volunteer, she has logged over 60 hours of service, most spent improving our local ecosystems with the City of Boston, the National Park Service, and the Trustees of Reservations. Here is her story:

 

“I joined the Live Blue Service Corp two years ago, shortly after moving to Boston, with the hope of both giving back and learning about my new community. With so many different volunteer programs in the Boston area, I chose the live blue program for several reasons, including the flexibility to work around a busy and unpredictable work schedule, aligning with my passion for the outdoors, and because the live blue program provides an ability to make a positive impact on both my community and the ecosystem. Through the diversity of service projects offered by live blue, I’ve had the opportunity to explore and clean up some awesome parks that I had no idea even existed, like Allandale Woods in Newton and Condor Street Urban Wild in East Boston. I’ve also learned quite a bit about the local history through service projects in conjugation with the National Parks Service on the Boston Harbor Islands.

Although I try to partake in a range of service projects, some of the most enjoyable ones have been located at Crane Beach in partnership with the Trustees of the Reservation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving land for use by all. Both service projects that I’ve participated in at Crane Beach have had an ecological focus, with the projects involving habitat rehabilitation and shorebird fencing. During my first service project at Crane Beach we were transplanting dune grass from a vibrant environment at one end of the beach to an area that had recently been disturb by construction. With only a couple of hours of work, we were able to successfully fill the disturbed area with new grass, of which >95% survived the critical summer months (thanks in large part to the Trustees staff for daily watering). Our efforts that morning are having a lasting impact in preventing beach erosion and providing natural habitat for native species to thrive.

dune-before
Before: This area, once covered in vegetation, needed some help recovering from nearby construction
dune-after
After: With a few dedicated hands and a few hours in the sun, the sand was covered in transplanted grasses
dunegrass-9-27-16
After 5 solid months of growth (and plenty of watering) the dune is starting to look back to normal. (Notice the non-grass, native plants moving in!)

Another fun service project at Crane Beach involved removing shorebird fencing for the winter. Because the Trustees have a relatively small operation budget they can’t afford to lose material, like ropes and poles, used for protecting endangered shorebirds during strong winter storms. So, on a crisp fall morning a small group of volunteers spent a couple hours walking the beach and removing fencing poles, ropes, and signs. At the end of the day our hard work was rewarded when Jeff, the ecologist with the Trustees, treated us with a truck ride to the end of the beach so that we could get a great view of the Crane Estate.”

emily-mevers-crane-beach

 

The Service Corps returns to the Harbor Islands, Crane Beach, and many of these other sites regularly to continue to improve our local environment. If you would like to join Emily and the rest of our amazing volunteer community, you can sign up for projects at serve.neaq.org/calendar!

 

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