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Friends of Sligo Creek

Newsletter      November 2018


Stream wide semi-compressed
Ellen X. Silverberg photo
Learn about Sligo's Eels Nov. 14

The amazing life cycle of the American eel requires open ocean, reliable currents, coastal or inland waters, and four stages of development. (

Learn about one of the top predators in Sligo's waters, the American eel, when aquatic biologist Matthew Rinehimer, of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, speaks on Wednesday, November 14, at the Sligo-Dennis Avenue Local Park. 

The talk begins at 7:30. Come at 7:15 for refreshments and to meet other enthusiasts for nature in Sligo Creek. The building is located on the west side of Sligo Creek Parkway just north (upstream) from Dennis Avenue and next to the basketball courts.  

Matthew Rinehimer is a biologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and is based in Stevensville. He joined the DNR in 2007 after graduating from McDaniel College and has worked since then on monitoring eel, yellow perch, white perch, and catfish.

His talk will cover the biology of eels and their life stages from adults in our coastal and inland waters to their migration to open ocean to spawn and their migration as immature offspring back to our bays and creeks.

Young Artists Turn Storm Drains into Inspiring Art

Young artists paint a storm drain at the northwest corner of Hickerson Dr. and Elkin St.
Local young artists decorated two storm drains in downtown Wheaton on November 4, part of the third Montgomery County contest designed to raise awareness about these sewers and how they connect street runoff to our creeks and the Chesapeake Bay.

One of the latest contest winners, Emma Bourne, is a junior at Einstein High School and part of its Visual Arts Center program. Her work now graces the storm drain at the northwest corner of Hickerson Drive and Elkin Street.

The second painting was led by Emily Albines, a junior at Magruder High School, whose favorite class this year is on environmental science. The rainbow-themed artwork can be seen on the southwest corner of Blueridge Avenue and Elkin Street.

Last spring, six other storm drains were painted by teams under the leadershiip of contest winners. The contest is organized by the county's Department of Environmental Protection, in partnership with the Mid-County Regional Services Center, the Wheaton Urban District, and the Wheaton Arts and Entertainment District and in collaboration with the county's Department of Transportation, Montgomery Parks, Friends of Sligo Creek, One Montgomery Green, and Rock Creek Conservancy.

Young artists paint a storm drain at the southwest corner of
Blueridge Ave. and Elkin St. on Nov. 4. (Mike Smith photos)

FOSC Turns Trash to Cash
at Takoma Park's Folk Fest

Montgomery Parks photo
Our "trash team" at this year's Takoma Park Folk Festival earned us a tidy sum of $375 by putting in a day's worth of volunteering to collect trash and recycling.

Once again, Jim Baird (a FOSC past-president) led the effort by recruiting volunteers, establishing a schedule of shifts, and supervising it all on the day of the festival. 

This year was the latest in a long annual tradition of FOSC providing trash and recycling labor to the big festival, each year earning valuable funds to help cover the costs of supplies, programs, outreach, and the web site.  

FOSC Seeks New Board Members

Fall in Sligo (Don Olson photo)
Do you often find yourself enjoying the natural beauty of Sligo Creek Park and its proximity to where you live? Have you appreciated the work of the Friends of Sligo Creek in organizing trash clean-ups, nature outings, talks, advocacy efforts, a resource-rich website, and so much more? 

Would you like to contribute your time and talent to our work in a meaningful way? If so, please consider joining our board of directors, a crucial body within FOSC that keeps track of developments affecting the watershed and makes decisions on important issues facing the organization and the Park. 

Our volunteer board meets eight or ten times a year (rarely in summer) and participates in our annual fall planning session. The group is an inspiring mix of natural resources professionals, community activists, and nature lovers who care deeply about our most local environment. 

Explore board membership by contacting our president, Corinne Stephens, at

Unusual Bird Visits Sligo

Greater Yellowlegs at the Kemp Mill stormwater ponds on October 20
(Dan Treadwell photo)
A pair of Greater Yellowlegs were sighted at two locations in the Sligo watershed last month, only the second time this species has been reported in Sligo. 

These wading birds spend the spring and summer in the bogs and forests of northern Canada and coastal Alaska, where they nest and breed. Every fall, they migrate south across the U.S. to wintering territories along the U.S. coastlines, across Mexico, and on Caribbean islands.  

Dan Treadwell, a frequent contributor to the FOSC "Sightings" page, reported seeing the birds at the Kemp Mill stormwater ponds on October 20. Rob Cantor saw these (or two others) at the Wheaton Branch ponds adjacent to Dennis Avenue on October 30 and reported them on the eBird website.

In October 2017, one individual was seen in downtown Silver Spring. Another was observed at Wheaton Regional Park in 2016. Sightings were noted on eBird at Bladensburg Waterfront Park in the fall of 2013, 2016, and 2017. Greater Yellowlegs are spotted much more often, though still in small numbers, along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and at the Blue Mash Nature Trail near Olney.  

Thanks to Susan Hunt and Mark England for their help in confirming the identification of this surprising visitor to Sligo. 

Need to Reach Us? 


President (Corinne Stephens):
Invasive Plants (Jim Anderson): 
Litter (Patton Stephens): 
Advocacy (Kit Gage):
Natural History (Bruce Sidwell):
Stormwater (Elaine Lamirande):
Water Quality (Pat Ratkowski):
Outreach (Sarah Jane Marcus):
Treasurer (Dee Clarkin; Asst treasurer Sherrell Goggin):
Webmaster (Sherrell Goggin):
Newsletter Editor (Michael Wilpers):
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Friends of Sligo Creek is a nonprofit community organization dedicated to protecting, improving, and appreciating the ecological health of Sligo Creek Park and its surrounding watershed.