Public Lab Research note

Southwest Boston CDC seeks volunteers for land and water restoration

by Patalvarez | January 03, 2017 15:26 03 Jan 15:26 | #13833 | #13833

For Public Lab 12-23-16

Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation (SWBCDC)

Pat Alvarez

Assistant Director

Fairmount Avenue, Suite 101, Hyde Park, MA 02136

617-364-7300 (o); 617-990-4498 (c)

Website Address:

Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation (SWBCDC) is a non-profit organization serving Boston's Hyde Park and Roslindale neighborhoods. Current projects include affordable housing preservation and development, green space preservation and development, environmental justice and transit equity along the Fairmount Commuter Rail Line.

Green Team - Southwest Boston CDC's Green Team employs youth ages 15-25 to restore Hyde Park's city-owned urban wilds and to educate residents and businesses about caring for the local environment. The Green Team works at 5 urban wilds, removing trash and invasive plants, and building trails. The Team has planted over 100 native trees, and engaged over 50 community volunteers. Through the program youth learn about environmental science and climate change, and explore careers in these fields.

POHWER - SWBCDC is part of the Fairmount Greenway Task Force, a partnership of CDC's and community based organizations developing open space within ½ mile of the Fairmount train line. SWBCDC has prioritized two highly deteriorated open spaces for restoration: 1) the West St urban wild, a 2 acre, city-owned woodland in Hyde Park's business district; and 2) the DCR owned former Doyle Playground close to the Riverwood Shopping Plaza in Mattapan. Both sites sit on the Neponset River in neighborhoods populated primarily by low-income residents of color. Our goal is to restore these sites and create a continuous 1/3 mile footpath along the river bank between the two. The Neponset River is polluted with PCB's following years of industrial use. In September 2016, volunteers hauled 14 tons of debris from the Neponset including car parts, shopping carts and construction materials.

Since many residents, especially newcomers, were not aware of these deteriorated and contaminated open spaces SWBCDC recently hosted a series of meetings to discuss environmental justice concerns. Residents formed a new neighborhood committee,People of Hyde Park Wanting Equal Representation (POHWER), to focus on housing and environmental justice concerns.

Southwest Boston CDC seeks volunteers who can assist the Green Team and POHWER with the following:

* Provide water and soil tests kits and train youth and community members how to use them

* Find a lab that would allow our youth to bring samples, and allow youth to participate in the testing

* Identify local colleges and/or environmental businesses that would be willing to provide short (1-2hr) workshops for our youth related to urban woodland ecology and the critical role of urban woodlands, history and health of the Neponset River and its impact on the community, climate change, renewable energy, or related topics.

* Introduce us to other community groups that have successfully advocated for river restoration.


Login to comment.