May 24, 2021 /
Melinda Peters

Fostering Stewardship on Kingman & Heritage Islands

Last year, we were awarded a Community Stormwater Solutions Grant in 2020 to work on developing digital and print educational resources regarding the trees on Kingman & Heritage Islands and their role in promoting community and watershed health. 

These grants provide funding for innovative and community centered projects with the goal of improving our waterways in the District. Funding for this grant was made possible by DOEE in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Trust administering the grant. This grant program was started in 2016 to support “community centered projects with the goal of improving our waterways in the District and creating new community partners and strengthening existing relationships with community-based organizations and small businesses.” 

Unsurprisingly for any project in 2020, the COVID pandemic changed a few objectives, (we were not able to host a large community day), but we transitioned and offered a few smaller on site programs. Most importantly, we created videos and print materials which will live on past the grant cycle for everyone to use and get info about the trees on the islands. Thanks to the pandemic (never thought we’d say that) you too can enjoy the videos below!

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the stewards of the islands and our funders. The land is owned by DC’s Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE), but managed by Living Classrooms, a nonprofit with a focus inspiring youth people to achieve potential by using outdoor space as a resource. 

The Friends of Kingman and Heritage Islands were critical in helping with outreach efforts to the local community during our small volunteer days to pull invasives and our “open office hours” to promote the trees in this space.  

Our project title, “Trees, Water, and You: Fostering Stewardship on Kingman & Heritage Islands,” will continue to inform folks about this space through these great resources.

The Junior Urban Islands booklets are one of the products that we are really excited about. These help guide activities around the islands by highlighting trees and the watershed ecosystem. It is really interesting what you will encounter in this space when you take time to slow down and notice your surroundings. The four videos created, provide insight to the following themes and bring the islands to you.  

  • Ecosystems – Here we are joined by Living Classrooms to learn about the tidal freshwater wetlands, vernal pools, wildflower meadow, and tidal swamp forests. We wrap up with an overview of the basic clues/characters for tree identification.  
  • Ecosystem Services – Learn about all the benefits trees provide. From making a space more beautiful and providing habitat and food to things we can’t see like carbon sequestration, absorbing stormwater, and collecting air pollutants.   
  • Resilient DC – See how the various DC city plans, like Sustainable DC 2.0 help guide us in creating a green, health, livable city.    
  • Island Stories – Provides a brief overview on how the islands were made and includes interviews from neighbors and friends to entice you to visit.  

And lastly, because of who we are, we of course had to plant a few trees!  This was a small planting, but mighty planting working with some volunteers to remove some invasive species and fill in the space with new trees. With the help of our tree planting crew, we installed a Black Gum Nyssa sylvatic, two Black oaks Quercus nigra, a Loblolly Pine Pinus taeda, and a Sycamore Platanus occidentalis