HARWICH — The proposal by Monomoy Regional High School Junior Lily Daniels-Diehl to revegetate and restore the wildlife habitat in Brooks Park Hollow, damaged by a tornado in July, was greeted with unanimous support by the Recreation and Youth Commission.
Daniels-Diehl has developed a comprehensive proposal through her Global Studies Program to revitalize the hollow, which lost dozens of trees when the July 23 tornado tore through Harwich Center. She was drawn to the project by the concern of residents about the damage and the desire to restore the habitat.
Monomoy High's Global Studies Program encourages students to reach beyond the standard curriculum to make connections with the larger world and prepare to be active citizens.
Sustainable plant and wildlife conservation are suggested science concentrations in the program. Daniels-Diehl has been focusing on environmental issues and has an interest in working in the wildlife rehabilitation field. She saw the revegetating and restoration of wildlife habitat in the hollow as a great opportunity to combine community contribution with the goals of the Global Studies Program.
She put together a comprehensive plan after presenting the commission with a mission statement several weeks ago.
“You should be commended for what you are doing,” commission member Vahan Khachadoorian, a retired school district superintendent, told Daniels-Diehl last Tuesday. “Your presentation was articulate and to the point.”
The student told the commission that she has compiled a list of 10 nurseries she will contact seeking donations of trees and shrubs that the businesses may not want to store over the winter, or may want to donate to her project. The letters will be sent to the nurseries now that she has the approval of the commission.
There are several ways to raise money for the project, Daniels-Diehl said, including grant applications, fundraisers and donations from the community. Recreation and Youth Commission Chairman John Mahan said he spoke with the town’s finance director, Carol Coppola, who will set up a gift account for financial contributions to the project. Checks can be made out to the town of Harwich and designated for the Brooks Park Hollow project.
Commission member Michael Hurley suggested Daniels-Diehl also reach out to other organizations, such as the service clubs and other community support groups. She said she will reach out to garden clubs and has contacted Cape Tech and other student organizations at the high school to assist with planting and maintenance.
Daniels-Diehl has been working with horticulturist Charles Wentz to develop a list of native shrubs and trees with a goal of planting 100 in the hollow. She also plans to create a daffodil garden and flowers would be sold as a fundraiser.
The need to establish a watering program over the first three years after planting is critical, especially during the dry summer months, she said. She has talked with the water and fire departments and will work with garden clubs to accomplish this task. Daniels-Diehl said Deputy Fire Chief David Leblanc agreed to assist.
Mahan recommended she contact Brian Albee of the department of public works, who oversees the Brooks Park grounds. He also recommended looking at a watering outlet at the nearby public restrooms. Daniels-Diehl said she would like to begin planting this fall.
Khachadoorian wanted to know more about the time line. Daniels-Diehl said she would be actively involved for the two years she has remaining in high school, but added there are other girls in the school who will carry the project forward, and she would return from college periodically to assist.
“I hope more people would help you,” including “some of us older people,” commission member Janet Bowers said.
Commission member Lee Culver offered a motion to support the Brooks Hollow Project and the commission provided a unanimous endorsement. Khachadoorian recommended Daniels-Diehl develop a website to put the project “out globally.” It was suggested that she use the town website and Channel 18 as means of reaching out for donations and assistance. It was also suggested she make a presentation to the board of selectmen.