One sign of spring at Salter Grove is the flocking of volunteers to clean up the park and help make it more enjoyable for visitors and safer for wildlife.
For many consecutive years, Save the Bay in Providence has organized groups for two-hour shoreline cleanups on evenings and weekends.
On April 2, 28 enthusiastic volunteers braved a sunny but cold and windy day for the first cleanup of 2022. They gave the season a great start by hauling out 376 pounds of refuse. Items ranged from small plastics, such as water bottle tops and cigar tips, to large foam pieces of boating equipment that weighed more than 20 pounds.
The first cleanup of the year is typically a large haul because so many items accumulate during the winter months. Anything that wind and waves can move end up trapped in vegetation of the park or mired in the mud of the shoreline.
A second group came out on May 23, an event that was part of the Earth Day and Earth Week initiatives planned by Save the Bay at many locations around the state. On a chilly morning, 25 volunteers removed about 110 pounds of trash. The teams did painstaking work in the northwest corner of the park between Narragansett Parkway and the waterline. This area of the park was recently cleared of brush by a separate group of FoSG volunteers. This project revealed years’ worth of accumulation of small plastics — not heavy, but great in number.
This year, a number of new cleanup leaders are training at Salter Grove, a good sign that the efforts will be sustainable for years to come. Salter Grove is an important site for cleanups, both because of its rich ecological diversity and the number of anglers it attracts each year.
The next spring cleanup will take place on Sunday, May 22, at 9 a.m. Interested volunteers should register at volunteer.savebay.org before attending.
FoSG volunteers Marina Wong and Joan DiSanto gave a tour of Salter Grove on October 16th to members of the Environmental Action Club from La Salle Academy (Megan Chan, Kendall Leishing, Leya Mohan, Aidan Murray, and Mia Swenson) so they can assess how to dedicate their community service hours to help mitigate the environmental problems of the park. Several of the students were particularly interested in coastal and marine environmental issues.
Students quickly realized that they cannot distinguished native plants from introduced plants just from looking so they were shown specific examples and readily learned to recognize poison ivy—a native even if noxious species! Of the 17 climbing plant species in the park, they examined how three of them used different techniques to reach the tops of trees. The students were also challenged to describe the arrangement of leaves, a key character used to identify woody plants.
The budding environmentalists from La Salle Academy also walked the length of the breakwater from the southern tip of Rock Island northward to Marsh Island while pondering how the breakwater and causeway have created three aquatic habitats where there used to be just one. They also saw first hand how some recent visitors like to leave trash behind to mark their visit on the breakwater.
Little did these students realize how much effort had already been expended in trash removal during 2021 by numerous Save the Bay cleanups spearheaded by Andy Lohmeier, and frequent litter patrols by Jason Major, both FoSG members. The breakwater has actually not been so clean for a while!
Nonetheless, and unsurprisingly given their concern for the environment, EAC members found the trash so unsightly on the breakwater that they would like to get the litter load even lower. So besides helping to manage invasive plants at the park, they would like to schedule a school-wide cleanup of the breakwater in November to close out the year.
693 pounds of trash were removed from the shore and park areas of the Grove on April 23!
On Saturday, April 23, Save the Bay hosted a Shoreline Cleanup at Salter Grove in honor of Earth Day. During that time over 30 volunteers gathered to pick up trash and litter from both the waterfront and inner areas of the Grove and also to learn a little more about FoSG and what we are working to accomplish at the park. In just a span of under two hours nearly 700 pounds of trash were collected and bagged—fantastic job everyone!
Check out more pictures from the cleanup event below: