Trash hauled from stream at Greens of Westminster $500 grant helps residents clear Meadow Branch of clothing, bikes, dead deer

April 14, 1997|By Jennifer Vick | Jennifer Vick,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Bikes, clothing and sporting equipment were among the trash that residents of the Greens of Westminster hauled away from a stream that flows through the development during a cleanup Saturday.

Cleanup of the Meadow Branch also yielded a trash bin door, tires, plywood, bundles of roofing shingles and newspapers, and even a deer carcass.

The Greens Homeowners' Association received a $500 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to clean the stream and to protect surrounding wetlands. The area is to be designated as an education area.

The cleanup was the first step toward the creation of a stream buffer. In the fall, trees and grasses native to wetlands will be planted. Boy Scouts will post signs explaining the rules and regulations of federally protected wetlands and will install birdhouses built by a resident.

"Cleaning up the stream is our first priority," said Rick Geelhaar, president of the homeowners' association.

Donning hip boots and gloves, Geelhaar and about 20 neighbors came out in the damp weather to tackle the mess. Westminster provided dump trucks and tools to pick up trash, most of which will be recycled. Other equipment was provided by Save Our Streams and donated by Lowes of Westminster.

Geelhaar said he would like to see the area become a place where neighbors can picnic and students from local schools can visit wetlands.

"We need to do this for our children and everyone in our community," said Bette Stiekman, a resident who joined the cleanup.

Fifth-grader Tommy Keeney, like many children in the Greens, is often lured to the stream to catch crawfish and explore nature. It's an activity his mother, Barbara Keeney, became leery of after learning of the clothes and trash her son found at the stream.

"If he's going to come down here and play, then we have to clean it up," Keeney said, armed with a rake and a box of plastic bags. "The stuff that's down here is unbelieveable."

City Council President Edward S. Calwell joined the effort at the Greens, the largest subdivision in Westminster and the second largest in Carroll County. The development includes 742 single-family homes and townhouses.

"I think there was a small, two-bedroom house down by the stream," Calwell said, referring to the amount of trash he picked up in less than an hour.

Calwell decided to join the environmental endeavor after attending a homeowners' association meeting. He described the cleanup as a "good effort," and noted that there will be a citywide cleanup Saturday and Sunday.

Geelhaar and Brian Leister, association vice president, sought money from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation after realizing the extent of pollution at the stream.

"We never knew there was so much garbage down here," Leister said.

Pub Date: 4/14/97

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