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Midshipman Action Group Helps Cleanup Greenbury Point

Posted on: October 22, 2013 08:00 EDT by Naval Academy Public Affairs

More than 240 U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen from the Midshipman Action Group honored National Public Lands Day Oct. 19 by cleaning up the Greenbury Point Resource Conservation area across the Severn River from the academy.

National Public Lands Day is “the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands,” according to the official website publiclandsday.org.

The midshipmen worked with volunteers from Naval Facilities Washington to clean up trash from the trails, woods and shorelines of Greenbury Point. The volunteers separated recyclables from the debris and delivered them to a recycling center to ensure they were not landfilled.

“Clearing trash and separating out the recyclable materials helps to keep the trails and beach areas looking tidy and keeps the junk from getting into the nearby waterways which lead to the Chesapeake Bay,” said Collen Ruhter, from NAVFAC Washington’s Public Works Department.

The volunteers also cleared walking trails that had been overgrown by plants or blocked by fallen trees and removed invasive ivy plants.

“Invasive plants are a big problem on Greenbury Point,” said Ruhter. “They are aggressive growers, and can crowd out native plants, preventing them from growing.  In general, native plants provide more habitats and food for native insects and other animals, so eliminating invasive plants helps the native plants thrive.”

Having the midshipmen volunteer for National Public Lands Day helps give them a sense of responsibility for the environment in general, and especially the environment at the Naval Academy, said Ruhter, adding that NPLD is often the first time mids realize there is more land belonging to Naval Support Activity Annapolis than the Lower Yard.

“Cleanup days help remind us all that we can all have either a positive or negative impact on the environment,” she said. “Plus, all the MAG members enjoy getting outdoors and having fun together doing something good for the environment. We at Public Works … especially love working with MAG to get an enjoyable group of enthusiastic volunteers together.”

The event also helped remind midshipmen that the trails at Greenbury Point are available for their personal use.

“The fact that multiple midshipmen came up and expressed a new desire to come and utilize the running and biking trails they created is the long lasting impact MAG is all about,” said Midshipman 3rd Class Zachary Dannelly, who organized the project for MAG.

“Greenbury Point and the environment in general are in that much better shape today than they were last week,” said Ruhter.

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