ENC students and faculty honored by city for environmental efforts
Quincy, MA. Nov. 7, 2007 — On Tuesday, Councilman Doug Gutro honored 10 Eastern Nazarene College (ENC) students and their teachers for working to clean marshes. The students, three instructors and several Quincy community members reduced the amount of an invasive species of reed that is threatening local marsh habitats.
"I wanted to say thank you on behalf of the city," said Gutro, who is president of the Quincy, Mass. City Council. "By recognizing student contributions through community service projects like this one, we can inspire volunteerism, build a stronger bond with ENC, and let students know that their contributions to our city make a difference."
The reed, known as phragmites communis or the common reed, is an eyesore and a fire hazard. It also chokes out native plants, reduces flood storage capacity, harbors mosquitoes, and blocks drainage channels. In order to get rid of the reed, the marsh needs to have a high concentration of salt water — as it cannot survive without abundant fresh water — or people need to chop it down. Richard Joyce, a marsh neighbor and environmentalist, coordinated the latter in August in conjunction with the Quincy Conservation Commission. Over a period of four to six hours, the group cut and bundled about 10 to 20 percent of the reed in Dickens Marsh, which is owned by the college.
"When we first arrived, we couldn't see past 3 steps in front of us," said ENC freshman Denine Wilson. "By the time we finished, we could see a small field cleared in front of us. Although the process was long, sometimes painful, hot, and tedious, when we looked at the end product, and the multiple bags sitting on the street full of phragmites, we realized that it was worth it."
However, this project is only the beginning. ENC will continue to work with the city to tackle the reed problem, said ENC ecology professor Jonathan Twining said
Gutro doesn’t doubt the dedication of ENC.
"In my experience, ENC students, faculty, and staff welcome the opportunity to give back to our city and have made a difference each time," he said. "I've worked with ENC faculty and staff on marsh and beach cleanups, water quality analysis at local ponds, and other important projects that contribute to the quality of life in our city."