The Oella & Ellicott City Entrance Garden started out as a neglected piece of land that was overrun by invasive plants. In 2008, to honor the Oella community’s bicentennial, a Maryland Home & Garden Pilgrimage was held in the historic mill community. After the successful event, funds were available to install a largely native plant garden at the corner of Oella Avenue and Frederick Road.

After a handful of stormwater floods, including a flood of the Patapsco River in April of 2014 and the flood that occurred on the 30th of July last year, the garden still continues to grow. The floods uprooted plants from the banks and left the ground covered in silt, but under the leadership of Paul Farragut of Patapsco Heritage Greenway, and with help from Maryland Master Gardeners and community volunteers, the garden has been replenished with native plants, including a designated Monarch Way Station to attract pollinators.

We hope you’ll stop by and visit the garden. Take a photo and post it #OellaGarden.   Stay tuned for Part II and III of the story!

On Saturday, June 3rd, several scouts and adult leaders from Troop 764 in Halethorpe, Maryland, as well as volunteers from the Patapsco Heritage Greenway, participated in an Eagle Scout service project for seventeen year old, Luke Rau.  The project consisted of creating access paths through Oella Historical Cemetery, mulching them in for beautification and to prevent weed growth.  Through a lucky stroke of timing, the project coincided with National Trails Day!

Over the past several months, Luke has planned and coordinated for the execution of his project, which he hoped would enhance the greater Patapsco area.  As a nearby resident in Halethorpe, Luke was inspired when he saw how the local area came together to serve after the devastating Ellicott City flood in 2016, and wanted to find his own way to help.  Through the process, Luke has learned valuable lessons as he coordinated with several community-based organizations, and was able to secure important donations of materials, such as mulch.

As the project reached its successful completion, 654 feet of trails had been laid out in the cemetery, with approximately 14 cubic yards of mulch spread throughout the path system and in the area surrounding the gateway on Rest Avenue.  Previously, the area was difficult to navigate due to heavy weed growth, steep terrain, and the uncoordinated manner in which many of the plots were laid.  The cemetery now has a more inviting appearance, which will draw in more community residents to a site which provides a glimpse into the history of Oella and Ellicott City.  Furthermore, the trails create an important access system for future volunteers who seek to improve Oella Historical Cemetery.  

Eagle Scout is the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America, a program for boys aged 11 through 17.  Young men are required to complete twenty-one merit badges, take on a leadership position within their troop, set an example for others by living by the Scout Oath and Law, and provide leadership in a community service project.  Some notable Eagle Scouts are Neil Armstrong, President Gerald R. Ford, Steven Spielberg, and Baltimore’s own Mike Rowe.  

As he completes his final requirements, a culmination of years of learning and effort, Luke Rau has the goal of reaching the rank of Eagle Scout prior to returning to school in the fall.  He would like to thank all those who assisted in making this project a success

After three seasons with the Patapsco Heritage Greenway, Heather Wandell is stepping down as the Environmental Programs Coordinator to pursue new opportunities. Heather has been such a light to our organization! She bridged us through the floods and transitions in leadership. Her steady hand and organizational skills will be sorely missed… but… I know that we will miss most – her ready smile, her warmth and kindness. In Heather’s words:

“I have loved my time with PHG and have found the work so interesting and very rewarding.  It has opened up my eyes and heart to environmental concerns and has deepened my love for the Patapsco River Valley.  While looking for another part time job that is slightly less physically demanding, I plan to continue as a member of the volunteer Stream Team which assists with stream cleanups, tree plantings, tree maintenance, and invasive plant removal, when time allows.  I am also considering enrolling in the Master Naturalist Program and or volunteering with local historical organizations.  I love this quote from Marion Olson –

 Every end is a beginning,

Another mountain to climb

Or space to pursue new possibilities, or withdraw

To the other side of the bank

Under a great sprawling sycamore

Where the river quietly flows

And just breathe.

But first, a trip to Iceland in June with my husband! I know your good work will carry on and I plan to join you at many events—but not all.  I’m ready to slow the pace of our seasons just a tad!  Stream by stream, keep on combating the impact of thoughtlessness!

 Love and Laughter,

 Heather :o) “

We wish you well, Heather! And look forward to working with you in the future!

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