Cleaning Up Our Community

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    The Baxter’s Pond Foundation hosted a spring clean-up event

    Volunteers bundled up for the clean-up. (Photo provided by Kim Kieserman)

    On Saturday, May 7, the Baxter’s Pond Foundation held a Spring Clean-Up session. Despite the stormy weather, people still showed up to help support the pond and keep their community clean.
    The Baxter Pond Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 2003 to improve, maintain and beautify Baxter’s Pond and the area surrounding it. In addition to the clean-ups, the foundation has sponsored environmental education programs for the children in the Port Washington community.
    This past January, Kim and John Keiserman became co-presidents of the Baxter’s Pond Foundation.
    “My husband and I became co-presidents, and Nancy Comer, our predecessor, has done amazing work,” said Kim Keiserman. “She co-founded the organization and was president for 18 years. So we have big shoes to fill.”
    In the first few months of the Keiserman’s stepping into the role of co-presidents, they established frequent clean-up events where volunteers join the foundation to keep Baxter’s Pond looking fresh.
    “We’ve been working hard,” said Kim Keiserman. “We are having the [clean-ups] quarterly, and they have been successful. The one we had in March…actually got 40 people to show up, which is pretty amazing.”
    Due to the pouring rain and strong winds, the May clean-up only had eight people come to help out, but the Keisermans were happy anyone decided to bare the weather and show up.
    “We’ve had a lot of success at getting our local elected officials to attend these clean-ups in the past,” said Kim Keiserman. Previously Assemblywoman Gina L. Sillitti attended a clean-up, and this May, Councilmember Mariann Dalimonte faced the storm and took part in cleaning up the pond.
    “Even if you have a small group of eight like we did that day, you can get a lot done,” said Kim Keiserman. “You really don’t need more than an hour to get the litter up.”
    “The litter is an issue in town, mostly because of inadequate containment of garbage, not people purposely throwing it down on the roads,” said Kim Keiserman. “We do get quite a bit of [that trash] in Baxter’s Pond, and we find that the quarterly clean-ups have made a big difference.”
    The Keisermans, the Baxter’s Pond Foundation members, and other volunteers took time to collect trash on the surrounding land and in the pond itself. During previous clean-ups, a kayak and canoe would be brought out for volunteers to fish out plastic bags, soccer balls and any other litter floating in the water.
    “Part of the story that I think people don’t understand about Baxter’s Pond is it serves an infrastructure function as a catchment basin,” said Kim Keiserman. “[The pond] catches liter and garbage that comes down Central Drive and the streams from Main Street, Beacon Hill and etcetera before it goes into Manhasset Bay.”
    Under the bridge at Baxter’s pond, litter collects as a catchment which Nassau County comes to clean out. Some debris do not make it to the catchment and floats in the pond, which the foundation cleans out during their clean-ups to maintain the pond.
    “We will sometimes get in there with nets and long boots to try and get the litter out,” said Kim Keiserman. “We are trying to keep the pond looking beautiful and safe for wildlife.”
    Baxter’s Pond plays an essential role in keeping Manhasset Bay and the surrounding communities clean. Nassau County has recognized the pond’s significance in helping keep the environment healthy by providing a grant from the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District.

    Fencing was installed to keep plants out of harms way to grow. (Photo provided by Kim Kieserman)

    This is the second grant Baxter’s Pond has received from Nassau County. The first grant will continue a shore scaping project that started under Nancy Comer three years ago. The project supported planting and growing native plants around the pond to maintain the shoreline.
    “The organization had put fencing around [the plants] to protect them so they could establish, which has been successful,” said Kim Keiserman. “Part of the clean-up was removing that fence to use again for new plantings.”
    The foundation is planning a big event later in the season as part of the shore scaping project. The event will require a lot of volunteers to help plant the native plants around the shore of the pond.
    To learn more and get involved with Baxter’s Pond, visit baxterspond.org.

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