Each month, WSA will highlight a Master Watershed Steward. This month, we're highlighting Lara Mulvaney, Class 1 Steward and former WSA staff member.
Capstone project: Rain garden installation at a private residence
Why did you become a Master Watershed Steward?
I became a Master Watershed Steward because I wanted to take a more active role in improving the environment. I recently moved to Anne Arundel County rom out of state and was looking to get more involved. WSA was starting up its first class back then, and it looked like a great way to get started. I’m so glad I did because not only can I be a community resource person, but I am part of an amazing family of like-minded people.
How did you hear about WSA?
I first heard about WSA from talking with someone at South River Federation, where I had been volunteering doing water quality monitoring. I then inquired with Suzanne while chaperoning a 5th grade field trip to Arlington Echo with my daughter Hannah. The rest is history!
Why is restoring the waterways important to you?
The connectedness of the watershed is something I have a long history with and something I am compelled to improve. As a child, I walked down the steams in my neighborhood often. As a tween, I took a canoe down the stream and all the way to the Hudson River. When I moved to Anne Arundel County, I found myself following the stream in my back yard all the way to the South River. I want my river to be healthy for fishing, swimming and living…for all creatures.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned during the certification course?
Man, I had no idea how much water could be generated even in a one inch storm. 623 gallons will stick with me forever.
How have you used the knowledge gained from the WSA course since graduation?
I think I have passed on a significant amount of knowledge to neighbors, friends, family and the public. I have been able to use the knowledge and my relationships to help coordinate many small restoration projects and outreach events over the years.
What was your favorite project you worked on after becoming a Master Watershed Steward?
Since 2012, I’ve planned a tree planting or conservation landscape in my neighborhood on an annual basis. Every one of these is a favorite, because it makes me feel great to work alongside neighbors doing something good!
The other favorite is more dramatic…I think it was about 2011 when I worked alongside many volunteers at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Annapolis to prepare for a new rain garden. My friend Sarah, who was an engineer, organized the project. We volunteers removed something like 500 sq. ft. of gravel from the parking lot that had previously been covered with asphalt. The resulting rain garden was so much more functional and beautiful…the hard work was very rewarding.