Archive | July 2012

FERP Youth Program’s Fourth Week Was A Blast!!

Every week of FERP Youth Program’s summer has been full of hard work, and projects that have a lasting impact on the park and this week was no exception!!

Our fourth week consisted of:

  • Finishing the weeding and mulching of the side area on way up from the boat launch
  • Clearing the overhanging bushes from the stairs at the end of the cold spring trail
  • Learning about the history of east rock park, the Mill River, and about reptiles and amphibians via Ranger Dan
  • Planting half a dozen ornamental plants in the front of college woods (facing WCHS)
  • Starting to sponge painting to cover unsightly graffiti by the boat launch
  • Picking up trash (lots and lots)
  • A visit to Lake Whitney Water Treatment Plant which taught us about where our water comes from and how it is treated to become potable water
  • Taking a walk to the Pardee Rose Garden in East Rock Park
  • An amazing community work night with tons of people and volunteers from Climate Summer!  We weeded and mulched the side stairs that lead into College Woods
  • Moving logs and debris from a section  of the white trail by the mill river. We finished by cleaning the trail up a bit, lopping long hanging branches, and making the river more visible from the trail.
  • Walked to splash pad and cooled off after a hot week of productive work!!


We accomplished so much this week, it’s almost unbelievable….but we have the proof!!



(Above) The graffiti at the base of the Orange St. Bridge.

(Below) Still in progress, but it looks so much better already! It should be completed by next week.


Removing graffiti in the park is something that is so easy to accomplish, and yet has such a positive effect on the park. The FERP Youth Crew did a great job matching the color of the stones (it looks much more subtle in person)…

Since we cleaned up the boat launch area, we figured we might as well make a project out of it and we also weeded and mulched a small garden on the side of the path that leads to College Woods from the boat launch.


(Above) FERP Youth Crew, tired but proud, with our newly mulched garden! Hopefully by next spring there will be plants and flowers placed there to beautify that spot and make our work noticeable!


Our educational trip this week was very, very interesting but unfortunately we were not allowed to take photographs to show you. This is because we were lucky enough to tour the Lake Whitney Water Treatment Plant across from The Eli Whitney Museum. Some of the crew did not know that the light bulb shaped (apparently an inverted water droplet, who knew?) was a water treatment plant, and rightfully so…the plant was designed to be aesthetically pleasing and was designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and Steven Holl Architects. If you would like to know more about the plant please visit this site for more info.

Our last Community Work Night of the summer was wonderful, at the height of our night we had 19 people all working together to mulch, weed and clear trash from the side stairs (by the ranger’s station) in College Woods. That’s what we’re talking about- community!!!!!! It seems our flyers put up by some of the crew was really helpful in gaining new volunteers. During our work night we had about 6 or 7 volunteers from Climate summer a nonprofit group based in New Hampshire, the interns travel all over New England by bike advocating against the use of fossil fuels to combat climate change. They were all really nice, helpful and seemed really dedicated to the community. Please check the group, and their blog, out at



The FERP crew doesn’t usually work on Fridays, but this Friday we were so eager to work that we came in for four hours to do some really heavy work. We moved logs and limbs (I would say it was an entire tree…..) from a very obvious and distracting place to clear up the trail and make the trail more beautiful to look at. The small trails that lead down to the water were overgrown and the bushes had grown so high that if you weren’t looking for the trail, you might have missed the lovely view of the river at the bottom. We cleared the area and made the view more accessible and lovely. We moved a log parallel to the river to make a bench, until a real one is installed. Together the work took nearly the whole day, the last 45 minutes of the day was dedicated to walking to the Cedar Hill Splash Pad and cooling down after a long week!!!!!!


(Above) The larger trail and the brush pile.

(Below) So much cleaner and much more inviting!Image


(Above) The small trail before….

(Below) The small trail after!!

(Below) Taking a break and admiring our hard work before heading of to the splash pad!



Phew. Good thing we had a whole weekend to recover from all of that hard week. One more week of hard work and then we get to show it all off to you (the community, of course). Please join us for our celebration of the ending  5 week summer program. We will discuss and give a tour of the completed projects around College Woods, you will hear about the crews experiences, learn about FERP and we will definitely have lots and lots of food to share!!!!!!

The celebration will be held on Thursday August 2nd, 2012 at the pavilion in College Woods from 5:30-7:30p.

We’d really like to see you there!!!



Our Third Week Was Wonderful (and very warm)!

Hello all!


The FERP Youth Program has done it again! Another super productive week, even in the scorching heat.

The Youth crew got their share of mulching-and painting-this week. Take a look at all of the tasks we accomplished:

  • Mulched both sides of the white trail
  • Cleared tree branches from trail and made the trail more open and inviting
  • Went canoeing
  • Made signs and posted them around orange street and near the markets
  • Finished trash cans
  • Cleaned up boat launch
  • Started clearing up area where graffiti is near the water and picked up lots of surrounding trash
  • Cleared debris from an fallen tree on orange street
  • Started clearing the front area of college woods where lilies are…and mulched
  • Started clearing the path up to college woods from boat launch, weeding and mulching.

This crew works really hard to keep the park looking tidy and beautiful. A few of the tasks really made a huge difference in the aesthetics of the park.


(Above) Clearing the heading of the White trail to provide more visibility and a place to garden in the fall/ spring.

(Below) After clearing all of the brush, and spreading mulch and a nice rock trim, the trail head looks much more inviting and well kept.


(Below) The FERP Youth crew are tired after a morning of hard work, but are very proud of their trail head!!


The mulching of the trail head was also repeated on the adjacent side of the street to complete the look. Hopefully FERP volunteers will be able to plant some native flowers and plants in these little corners to make the trails more inviting, and clearing the trails to make them safer for all.


After all of that mulching, the FERP Youth crew really needed a break, so we went canoeing on the Mill River for a couple of minutes when the New Haven Parks had a few canoes to spare.


It was so refreshing and a wonderful experience for those who hadn’t been canoeing before.


Once we got back on dry land, we went straight back to work, picking up trash, creating catchy slogans to paint on trash cans to make them more noticeable, preparing to get rid of graffiti on the boat launch trail and weeding gardens that were left unattended.

We painted 5 trashcans and placed them around College Woods to advertise FERP and to liven up the park’s personality. Look at our handiwork! Please walk around the perimeter of college woods and the head of the white trail to see our trash cans up close! (Hopefully you’ll fill them, too)




And when we were done, we were so proud of our work we just had to celebrate!


Trash-Pickers of East Rock-UNITE!  (we fight evil and trash all at once…)


AT the FERP Community Work Night we weeded and mulched the garden in the front of College Woods and the garden to the left of the boat launch trail.


(Above) The weeds and dead perennials were just clogging up this whole garden.

(Below) Nicely trimmed and mulched, the front garden will have some nice topsoil in the spring when the perennials flower!



Next week the FERP Youth crew plans on painting park benches, picking up lots of trash, painting of graffiti, more trail work and an educational trip to the award winning Lake Whitney Water Treatment Plant. Stay tuned!!


Join the FERP Youth crew and FERP volunteers at our next FERP Work Night on Thursday, July 26 in College Woods!


FERP Youth Program’s Second Week!

(This past week was so productive, this post could be about a mile long but I’ll just give y’all a summary…)

This week we gained a new intern! Kadene, a Hillhouse High School graduate, joined our team and jumped right in to help with this week’s tasks. The FERP Youth Crew accomplished so much this past week, including:

  • Painting two sets of swings and leveled mulch
  • Picking up trash
  • Setting up before and after photos
  • Visiting the botanical garden and seeing plants that looked like rocks and others that ate bugs!
  • Clearing the other side of the white trail cutting through prickers, and making sight lines at the FERP Work Night
  • Taking a walk along the mill river and spying a snake and a king fisher
  • and we started to paint trash cans to beautify College Woods, and advertise FERP to the public.

The list goes on and on!! It might be boring to explain all of what we did so let me show you some pictures that illustrate how awesome the FERP crew is, and how much fun we all had this week!!


(Above) Look at how the paint is flaking off the swing set and see how uneven the mulch is! Yuck!

(Below) During the restoration of the swing set!


(Below) Look at how lovely (and bright) those swings look! All the kids are going to be excited to swing on those!


Once we finished that we decided to move on to bigger, better things—the big swings!


(Above) The swing set before the FERP Crew

(Below) Phew! We needed a break after all of that painting. Look how nice the swing set looks now!


After picking up trash, painting, leveling mulch and working in the heat the FERP crew deserved a day of shade. We walked to the Marsh Botanical Gardens at Yale University to learn about their facilities and the type of plants that they have there. Erika, our guide, was very knowledgeable and kept everyone excited about the tour. She showed us interesting and quirky plants like the Venus fly trap, miracle berry bush, and rock plants. Everyone had a good time learning about the Gardens and the plants that they have there!


(Above) Erika, our guide, talking to us about the rare Wollemi Pine tree from Australia!

(Below) Brian and Chevelle on the swing under the huge White Oak tree on the premises of the Gardens.


(Below) The group traipsing through the Gardens!


On the way back to East Rock Park the group found a bird’s nest, which was a good end to our educational trip.


At the FERP Work Night the crew worked really well with the volunteers to clear away the prickers on both sides of the white trail (a project continued from 2 weeks ago). Eventually  theses areas will be mulched and will look amazing.

All in all the FERP Youth crew had a really busy, really productive work week. Hopefully the level of enthusiasm and hard work will continue to climb as we progress farther into the program.

See You Next Week!!!!

Please join the FERP Youth Crew on Thursday nights 5:30-7:30 in College Woods at East Rock Park. Come and volunteer and get pizza after!! (see, everyone wins.)

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The First Week of the Summer 2012 FERP Youth Program!

Meet Our Awesome Crew for the 2012 FERP Youth Program!

Crew Supervisor: Sarah
Lead Intern: Tamara
Crew: Brian, Chevelle, Corey, Liz, and Samantha.

FERP Youth 2012!

The first day of the 2012 FERP youth Program started off strong with trash collection, a walk, and a meeting with FERP’s Justin Elicker and Betsy Yagla. As the week progressed we made our way through after-July-4th-trash-collecting, lots of trail maintenance, playground cleaning, and a hike to the top of East Rock Park via The Giant Steps. Despite the humidity, the crew successfully cleared a overgrown and nearly hidden trail of stairs heading up the Rock. Before the vines and leaf litter covered every step and obscured the whole trail but with the crew’s hard work the stairs are now visible and easy to walk up!!

The stairs before FERP Youth:

The stairs after FERP Youth:


To finish off the week our supervisor, Sarah, brought us a sweet treat!

A good end to the first week of the 2012 FERP Youth Program!!!

See you next week!