Monday, March 12, 2012

The 6th Branch, 1500 Bethel St Garden

The 6th Branch is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Baltimore City that utilizes the leadership and organizational skills of military veterans to create and lead aggressive community service initiatives. Founded by a small group of OEF/OIF veterans, The 6th Branch executes community service projects with the same intensity, urgency, and efficiency of a combat operation.

The 6th Branch has paid for the design and completion of two murals in the Oliver neighborhood, and have had a series of large scale neighborhood clean-up events (upwards of 100 volunteers each time) that has resulted in more than 50 tons of garbage and debris removed. Several trees have also been planted as part of the neighborhood greening portion of Operation: Oliver.

The garden on the 1500 block of N. Bethel Street will incorporate primarily native and native-hybrid trees, shrubs, and perennials. This garden will help reduce stormwater run-off by taking a formerly vacant and trash strewn dumping site into a garden that will soak up excess rainwater and provide a habitat for wildlife. Birdhouses, painted by children and volunteers will be lead by volunteers from the Veteran Artist Program. The garden will help reduce crime and help to increase property values of the adjacent homes which will then overlook this park, but giving the neighborhood a sense of pride and ownership. Seeing the neighborhood greening efforts in this way will also attract potential homebuyers to the area, thus staying in line with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's initiative of 10,000 Families.

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