Broken Island Lock Cleanup
In the Spring of 2020, I was contacted by Ronda Beck of the Broken Island community, a neighborhood on the Rivanna River. In this neighborhood there is a historic canal lock and dam, which are situated on private property, but Ronda was willing to arrange access for volunteers interested in helping with a project. The project entailed cleaning up the undergrowth at the lock, placing signage, and getting the Broken Island lock on the National Register of Historic Places.
I committed myself, as a representative of the VCNS, to speak to volunteers she would gather for this venture. She found the bulk of her workforce with the Boy Scouts, and a project leader named Nathaniel Capps, who is an Eagle Scout candidate. Nate brought his troop to do the work, and is currently working on getting the signage made.
The scouts began their work on September 11, clearing brush. My role was to show up on September 12 from 10-11 am and share information with them about the lock and canal. The weather forecast was slightly off, as the rain was supposed to be over by that time, but it was light and everything stayed on schedule. My talk got off to a rough start as the fall pollen hit me with a vengeance, but as I stood in the rain barely able to speak, I was determined to use my hour to make canal experts out of this group of Boy Scouts. They asked some excellent questions and were engaged, and the VCNS donated some Rivanna River atlases to allow them to do their own research and learn more at their convenience.
Projects like this haven’t been occurring much this year due to COVID-19, so I wanted to highlight this one to show that it is entirely possible to keep up our mission in this era of mask-wearing and social distancing. For people who want to visit the Broken Island Lock or want assistance in arranging lock cleanups in their own community, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.