Lake Waterford Park recently underwent some improvements thanks to an effort led by a 22-year-old intern for the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks.
Ryan Stewart, a resident of West River, MD, and a graduate of James Madison University, recently led three volunteers on a two-week effort to improve Lake Waterford Park.
Along with three teenage volunteers, Stewart re-stained park signs, picked up trash, pulled weeds and made remarkable improvements to a park trail.
“Most of the work we did was on the trail,” Stewart said. “We had to cleanup trash and cut down parts of the trees so people could walk through. Now that they are restored it can give people a comfortable way to enjoy nature.”
The trail they worked on goes from the fishing pier up to the parks pavilions. Stewart said that while cleaning up and weeding parts of the trail they noticed marked fishing posts along the water.
The volunteers helped cleanup some of the plants and brush around the boarder to recreate the fishing spots along the water, which also makes for a very nice view.
Stewart’s supervisor, Wendy Scarborough, said the entire project cost the county about $80. However, Stewart and the volunteers put in 150 hours over two weeks—something Scarborough said would have cost the county a lot had they needed to pay someone.
"The projects that they worked on were all things that if they had not been there as a volunteer, we would have had to pay a maintenance staff who gets paid an average of $8.80 an hour," Scarborough said. "The total cost of the supplies that they used came to about $80. So the total [they] saved the county would be about $1,200."
Stewart did face an one unexpected problem with the cleanup endeavor. The Monday they were scheduled to begin was the Monday after the .
“Our first day was right after the storm, so we had a lot of extra work,” Stewart said. “Some of the areas were a mess with branches and leaves so we cleaned all that up.”
Stewart said he hopes the improvements will encourage more people to come out to the park.
“People don’t realize when you fix up a park, it brings people into the park more, which is contributing to the community,” he said.
One of the biggest challenges they faced was the amount of trash they had to clean up. Stewart said they filled up five to six bags worth of trash on the trail alone. The trash issue is something he said park goers can help control.
“If they just recycle and respect nature it would help,” he said. “I hope they understand that when the leave trash out it affects the environment in every way. It is really just as simple as picking up your trash and throwing it away—just that can help.”