Category Archives: Grounds

Improvements on the Cemetery Trail

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For many months members of the Weed Warriors (previously “Lakes and Trails”) have been requesting repairs to the trail leading to the grave-sites that has become rutted over the years.  Finally, a crew from Ruppert Landscape, guided by Kyle Olson, a recent addition to the Collington Staff, has now constructed new runners and gravel leveling at critical points.  Many thanks are due to Jacob Kijne, who provided expert advise for the placement of runners to divert water runoff. Weed Warriors have since then covered particularly muddy spots with hay matting.  Hopefully the trail will remain easy to tread even after rainy days.  The final leg of the project awaits the completion of the Landing, our new restaurant, at which time tailings from the construction road will be reutilized to cover the remaining problematic areas.

Click here for a PowerPoint Guide of the complete trail, courtesy of Dorothy Yuan.

The Collington Road Warriors — Resurfacing Continues

From our photo correspondent Marian Fuchs, some nice photos and explanation:

This morning the crew have been paving the path behind our house.  I thought you might enjoy seeing some pictures of the men and equipment at work.  It’s precision work, and fun to watch their expertise.

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Here’s a pic of the crew paving behind our house.  I was particularly impressed by the fact that this driver could do his rolling backwards as well as forwards!

Full set:

The Collington Silt Warriors

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Karen Boyce launched our reporting on the silt amelioration project with this photo and the below information about the group that is spearheading the work:

The Clean Water Partnership is a Public-Private Partnership (P3) between Prince George’s County and Corvias. The CWP is the first of its kind to design, build, finance, operate and maintain urban stormwater infrastructure to meet MS4 regulatory requirements and is committed to retrofit up to 4,000 impervious acres.

Please visit www.thecleanwaterpartnership.com to learn more about this innovative partnership.

So your investigative team, soil and water expert Jacob Kijne and I, wandered down and gathered more provisional information — and some more photos, about this important work.

The idea is that the incoming silt-laden water is slowed down by the rocks, and drops its load of silt into the area between the inlet and the rocks.  The rocks, by the way, are kept in “cages” of PVC coated cable, so the containers will not rot.  Every few years, the trapped silt can easily then be removed.  The rocks will be much less visible than now, since they should be largely covered by water one water is allowed back into the lake.

Obviously, we can not plant trees directly onto the rocks, but maybe we will be able to think of some ways that we can use the new feature as an opportunity.  Maybe we need a “Lake Group,” just like we have a “Courtyard Group.”  Time for some Collington creativity.  Part of the opportunity is to think about how we can apply the emerging goal and value themes of the strategic planning process to an exploration of the lake’s potential — boat trips for staff kids, sustaining our water?  Educational programs from our experts?  More ideas?  It is perfect that our new horticulturalist will be onboard soon and can help us think about the relationship between our values and our landscape resources.

More photos:

 

 

 

Marian’s Photo Essay on “Inanimate Animals of Collington: Summer 2017”

Last year we published pictures of some of the inanimate creatures with whom we share our campus. There was an occasional complaint that a given animal had been overlooked, and others seem to have come wandering in, to nestle quietly under some available shade…

The inanimate creatures are as varied as their animate cousins. They have all kinds of different shapes and temperaments. This summer it seems we’ve had quite an influx of calm and slow-moving turtles and dragonflies…

Some creatures are are far more in-your-face assertive…

Some are pale, sleepy, shy or just quiet…

While others are more colorful, but nestled in vegetation…

And some are just happy to be together.

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After the publication of the recent batch of photos, we were surprised and delighted to be sent additions — the first three pictures below are by Shirley Denman. We were directed to additional locations by several other residents, and following their guidance, discovered many more. So here are pictures of yet more sweet, serene or slightly sinister creatures, now living silently in the shadows of our cottages.

Nestled among foliage, it was hard to spot these happy cats and this solemn dog. And we might never have known about the magnificent driftwood lion below, if Alice Nicolson hadn’t clued us to its location in the Arbor garden.

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The first batch of pictures has inspired another photographer, who is out and about with his camera these days, adding to the collection. Both of us will continue publishing our discoveries as they are uncovered.   Meantime, enjoy a few more…

The owner of the cute critter on the far right (who also owns the watchful heron) says it’s an otter, and no doubt she is right; but to us it looks quite like a meerkat too…

This set ends with (left) something special that its owner calls a ‘prairie Buddha’. The owner of the bird on the right tells us it’s a quail. It’s certainly handsome.

Remember, along with any other outdoor friends we find, images of the inanimate animals living in the corridors of the apartments will be coming later this summer!

 

Goals, Principles, and Values in Planning

The more we get into resident participation in every level of planning, from space design to long term strategic planning, I am coming more and more to understand how important it is to structure discussions in ways that everyone can engage.  We all think about things differently, and we give our best thoughts when those thoughts are stimulated in a variety of  parallel ways.

In part it is about meeting process, listening, and meeting leadership, and there will surely be much discussion about that as we go forward.

But here I want to focus on the importance of values, goals and principles.  What I am seeing again and again is that when we get caught too early in the weeds, it is very hard to pull together and keep moving to decisions and beyond.  So I have become an advocate of focusing early on goals, values and principles, and getting agreement on those as a tool for resolving disagreements.

Some recent examples from Collington.  Back when we were discussing the so-called “transition process,” that is the process why which decisions are made about the appropriate level of care within our continuum for a resident, we started off talking about a lot of specifics, and trying to write policy out of those specifics.  There was a lot of anxiety from both residents and staff.

So we backed off, and agreed on principles first.  In particular we led with the most important principle, that of resident autonomy.  The simple idea was that absent certain very limited exceptions, the decision was ultimately that of the resident, or “patient self-detirmination,” as we called it.  The principle, particularly when expanded and qualified in other principles, made it remarkably easy to resolve other issues as they came up.  The policy summary is here.

A very different example occurred at one of the excellent meetings that the Districts have been having about how to improve our central courtyard. No suprize that that discussion brings up very powerful feelings about space, community, design, etc.  So, there it has been suggested that an initial focus on goals and principles might be very helpful, rather than getting bogged down in the merits of specific suggestions.

Here, then, are some possible goals and principles that might be a draft which, after input and changes, might be appropriate for this particular situation.  They are offered more as an example of the approach than for the specifics.

The courtyard should be usable for as large amount of the year as possible.

The courtyard should be usable by as high a proportion of our residents as possible.

The courtyard should provide a powerful visual focus for our community.

The courtyard should foster communication and connection within, and even beyond, our community.

The courtyard should be maintainable at a reasonable cost.

As we move forward, I think we will see more and more the utility of this approach.