Groundwork Lawrence has been serving its community in Lawrence, MA for more than ten years, with a mission to bring about the sustained regeneration, improvement, and management of the physical environment in Lawrence by developing community-based partnerships that promote environmental and social wellbeing. The group is beginning to extend the scope of its work toward more direct ecological improvements and education in the city, and one of the ways they plan to carry this out is through a Celebrate Urban Birds event in the beginning of May, hoping to involve the entire community in a project at Manchester Street Park and the community garden.
Manchester Street Park is a rehabilitated brownfield (formerly industrial) site which was once a trash-to-energy incinerator and rail-yard, and it is located at the junction of the Spicket River Greenway and Manchester Lawrence Branch Rail Trail, making it a perfect site for environmental improvement.
Groundwork Lawrence’s goal is to provide a first-hand educational experience on the importance of native plants, food webs, and plant/pollinator interactions, so they plan to improve local bird and wildlife habitat in Manchester Street Park, incorporate local artists in the creation of a bird- and pollination-themed mural on the Park’s community garden shed, and educate the people of Lawrence on the basics of urban bird ecology. The group hopes to do this by:
- Planting bird-friendly native plants such as cone flowers, sunflowers, winterberry, and Virginia creeper, which can all provide food and habitat to local birds.
- Landscaping a green roof on the community garden shed with other bird-friendly species.
- Removing non-native or noxious plant species such as black locust and Asian bittersweet from the Park.
- Surveying bird diversity at the Park using the Celebrate Urban Birds data collection framework.
- Designing and painting a mural on the wall of the community garden shed.
During the educational components of the project, participants will be introduced to the life history and identification of the Celebrate Urban Birds focal species, and learn to view the urban environment as an ecosystem utilized by many species of birds, mammals, insects, and plants. They will then be able to apply what they have learned by engaging in the habitat improvement and citizen science data collection project at Manchester Street Park!
A couple weeks ago the group took an urban birding tour where they saw, among other species, American Kestrels, Bald Eagles, and a Peregrine Falcon!