Eckington Trees & Greenways
Neighborhood trees and greenways offer significant community public health benefits, counter urban heat sinks, and support birds, butterflies, and vital insect pollinators. A greenway is a trail or strip of land set aside as a green space for environmental protection or recreation. This may be a series of small urban parks or gardens, a walking trail, or some combination of green spaces. Alethia Tanner Park and the Metropolitan Branch Trail are the eastern green anchors for Eckington. Our Trees & Greenways Committee is made up of dedicated neighbors committed to a cleaner and greener community through the development and connectedness of residential and public green spaces. Contact us to get involved!
Eckington Parks & Arts Greenways Committee and the Eckington Civic Association invite you to join us for monthly neighborhood cleanups on the 3rd Saturdays of every month (meet at Yang Market, 10 AM). Celebrate our community and join us in keeping Eckington clean. Meet neighbors and get a free drink ticket for Lost Generation Brewery while supplies last!
A clean neighborhood is the first step to a green neighborhood, offering proven health and safety benefits for children and adults, pets, wildlife, and the environment. Litter has been shown to impact or correlate to housing values, crime, and psychological well-being. In Eckington, some of the most common litter discarded is fast food packaging, drink containers, cigarette butts, broken glass, and plastic waste. Community action at sustained litter prevention and cleanup is a vital step to supporting neighborhood greenways.
Tree boxes offer green space opportunities throughout the neighborhood. Capital Nature and EP&A are working together to build a community Tree StoryMap - supported by DDOT's Urban Forestry Division (UFD) - and encourage appreciation for one of our neighborhood's greatest assets through seasonal tree walks. EP&A is also working with DDOT's UFD in other ways to improve our neighborhood's tree coverage. Eckington's trees face more heat stress, pollution, and urban abuses than in much of DC.
Please join our efforts by caring for trees near your home! Water street trees a couple times a week when the weather is dry. Newly planted trees have green slow-release water bags that can be filled a couple times a week. Mulching one a season (keeping mulch away from the tree base) can help retain moisture during DC's hot and dry summers. Interested in more? Consider planting native plant species, such as low-growing wildflowers. Want to keep things simple? Try a mix of eco-friendly grasses and flowering clover; avoid mowing the clover flowers to give insect pollinators an additional source of food. Please keep in mind that the priority occupant of tree boxes is the tree, and other plantings should not cause harm. If your tree box is empty, request a tree through 311.dc.gov. D.C. legislation includes instructions on what is permitted for tree boxes, including information on substrates, planting, fencing, and maintenance.
Composting is the process by which microbial organisms and fungi break down organic scraps and yard waste into nutrient-rich material. Worm composting (or vermicomposting) is an alternative process whereby worms consume food scraps and produce castings (i.e., feces). Both the nutrient rich compost product and worm castings are highly beneficial for soil amendment in gardens, acting as a form of fertilizer. Avoiding landfills, and instead composting food scraps and garden waste, reduces methane emissions and the carbon footprint.
Eckington neighbors have several options for composting. DC recently introduced a home compost pilot program beginning in the Fall of 2023. The Department of Public Works’ Home Composting Program offers composting workshops on both composting methods, along with online resources. Workshop participation permits eligibility for their composter rebate program, which helps cover the cost of a home composting system. D.C. also offers food waste drop off at designated farmers’ market locations to be composted at local sites in the city and Prince George’s County.
As an alternative, Harry Thomas Recreation Center is home to the neighborhood-run Compost Cooperative. New members must go through a brief training on proper use of the composting system. Participation is free, but coop members are required to lend a hand with compost maintenance periodically (which counts toward EP&A volunteer hours!). Please contact email@example.com for additional information and to become involved.
Finally, there are a number of private companies offering food waste pick-up at your doorstep (even for multi-unit residential buildings). Fees vary with the number of neighbors participating. The most well-known services in the area include Compost Crew*, Compost Cab, and Veteran Compost, all of which provide compost for your garden in return.
*If you sign up for Compost Crew using our referral code, you'll get $10 off and they'll donate $10 to Eckington Parks & Arts. The monthly price goes down as more people sign up from our community area, which includes several neighborhoods (map) - to as low as $16/month with 75 sign-ups!