Governor O’Malley stopped by Turkey Branch in Aspen Hill Monday morning to briefly help out with a stream cleanup organized for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The Turkey Branch cleanup helped remove trash from the stream and woods surrounding the Matthew Henson Trail. The event was one of four stream cleanups organized for the day of service by FORCE, Friends of Rock Creek's Environment.
Gov. O’Malley spoke briefly before the cleanup started and spent a few minutes picking up trash near the trail.
“I thought it was a good way to start the day and do it in an environmental sense.” O’Malley said, adding he’d grown up playing in the streams of Montgomery County.
His next stop was a food pantry in Howard County, followed by the 11th Annual MLK Jr. Day parade in Baltimore and serving dinner at Baltimore Station.
“I think Maryland, in many ways, is making the sort of strides that would make Dr. King proud,” O’Malley said when asked how the state is living up to Dr. King’s ideals. “We’re a state that celebrates our diversity, that understands that our diversity is our strength.”
O’Malley cited a lower homicide rate, closing of the achievement gap and health care reform as reflections of that strength.
FORCE team leaders and volunteers stayed on through 12 p.m., collecting plastic bags, glass bottles and an assortment of other trash. Steps from the stream, volunteers found a mattress, a couch, a grill, several construction signs and tires.
Two-thirds of the Rock Creek watershed, which Turkey Branch is part of, are located in Montgomery County, project manager Doug Barker explained, and the branch received significant funds for restoration efforts along its banks.