Friends of Sligo Creek have been organizing, celebrating, and working together since 2001, in order "to restore to health the water quality, natural habitat, and ecological well-being of the Sligo Creek watershed by bringing neighbors together to build awareness, improve natural habitat, and protect our community's heritage." Sligo Stewards are a vital part of this work-providing oversight, leadership, and hands-on work within the section of the Creek in which they live. There are presently 18 sections in the eight-mile mainstem of Sligo Creek, plus its tributaries, with several openings for new stewards.
The work of stewards is variable, depending on interest and time, as well as the needs of the particular section and the people who live close by. Typically:
- Stewards know and love their part of Sligo Creek, and they
- Walk their section of the creek/path periodically, keeping an eye on things, and "speaking for" their section as questions arise
When trash barrels were being returned to the Park, one steward suggested to the local Park Manager where more effective locations might be.
- Note and report new problems, or help others know how to make these contacts
When new house construction near the creek was creating run-off, the steward telephoned the county agency responsible for enforcement.
- Are passionate about protecting the treasures of the woods and water.
Because invasive plants are such a fundamental threat to the biodiversity of Sligo, stewards usually take the two-hour "Weed Warrior" training provided by the Montgomery County Forest Ecologist in order to learn about invasive vines/plants and their removal and gather experience in the identification and removal of invasives.
- Stewards arrange (or help arrange) events in their section
- About twice a year, stewards are asked if they can coordinate within their section an all-creek event focusing on litter or invasives. If able to participate, stewards hang/post flyers (provided) before the event and remove them after; use the membership list for their section to recruit helpers; coordinate activities on the day of the event.
- As their own schedule permits, stewards arrange/lead occasional invasives-removal activities within section, cooperating with or perhaps themselves leading their section's RIP team- the "Remove Invasive Plants" initiative, begun in 2004. If not handling both roles, the steward communicates helpfully with the designated RIP Leader
- Stewards serve as ambassadors for Sligo Friends
- Stay current with activities and developments via the e-mailed newsletter and occasional visits to the website: www. fosc.org
- Maintain a supply of brochures and cards to use within their section and answer questions people may have about how to become involved
- Review periodically the section list of members and provide additional information about groups and organizations within the section
- Stewards participate in one or more meetings a year with other stewards in order to consider issues, share information, and develop direction
- Stewards serve under the general oversight the Board of Directors, and agree to the fine-print:
- Responsibilities of the Board of Directors
- a) Establish direction, set Creek-wide priorities, coordinate activities
- b) Communicate regularly with section Stewards, both providing and collecting information and views
- c) Support stewards with timely information, resources, and materials
- d) Relieve Stewards of responsibility at their request or in the event of irresolvable difficulties
- Responsibilities of Sligo Stewards
- e) Make clear commitment with the Board/Coordinator about which tasks and roles are being undertaken and for how long
- f) Check first-coordinating timing of planned events, getting clearance for use of logo/name and for communications outside Friends of Sligo Creek, e.g. with Park & Planning, with media
- g) Attend orientation and occasional other meetings
- h) Use the membership information in accordance with the established policy
Resources for Stewarding Sligo
- Sample flyers for posting and emailing (Outreach Committee)
- Modest financial support for tools and supplies (e.g., clippers, trash bags, gloves)
- Access to Sligo Friends' online data base to use in recruiting people and in obtaining technical support (Database Administrator and Webmaster)
- A "full service" website with an event calendar, maps, information on plants and animals, a photo gallery and much more (Webmaster)
- Access to various Friends with professional and hands-on experience in many disciplines (Board members, Committees, Technical Advisory Committee of local scientists)