Brian's blog

Iluminación Lawrence



ILUMINACION LAWRENCE is a city-wide lighting project bringing together a wide variety of organizations and stakeholders in the community. Designed to create an immersive public art experience using LED lighting and projects, the project will light the city's walls and pedestrian spaces, making for a safer, more enjoyable city.

GWL and the Emergency Relief Effort

When there is a need

Our mission to change places and change lives is deeply intertwined with what our community identifies as a need. The public speaks, GWL listens, and together we act. That's how we started working toward environmental justice 19 years ago to create green spaces, increase access to fresh healthy food, improve public health, and nurture the next generation of environmental leaders. Six weeks ago, we were ready to launch our September action plan - we stood ready to clean the Spicket River, we stood ready to harvest vegetables at Costello Urban Farm, we stood ready to start another year of innovative school enrichment services. But with the events of September 13th, the immediate aftermath, and the weeks following, we changed course. We implemented all of our programming, meeting our mission and delivering on our areas of service, but also stretched and stood ready to act because it was clear that our community needed all of us to respond. Together. 



Illuminating Lawrence - Post Preview

On June 5th, Lawrence, MA got a preview of Iluminación Lawrence: a project that will help shine a light on this beloved, vibrant city. The event featured a community input activity so guests could suggest future lighting projects, an art exhibit relating to the Emergency Relief Effort by the Groundwork Lawrence Green Team, ice cream by the Lawrence Police Department and local grub from El Punto Del Chimi food truck. DJ Angel Alba got the party started and the Drumline from Lawrence High School contributed to building up the energy and counting us down to turning on the lights!

A Day on the Farm


As one of Groundwork Lawrence’s newest team members as an intern from Merrimack College, I have learned that the organization wastes little time in fully embracing you into the Groundwork family, including diving right into their extensive programming. My name is Paige Sorensen and I am a junior at Merrimack College pursuing an Environmental Studies & Sustainability degree. I began my work with GWL this September, and since then have actively participated in many different programs, worked with numerous GWL employees, and ultimately have felt at home when I walk through the doors. Although it is challenging to choose a favorite area of Groundwork, it is safe to say that I have enjoyed working at Costello Urban Farm above all else – so much so that I decided to bring the Merrimack Women’s Ice Hockey Team to share in two service days.

As a member of the team myself, I understand the dynamic that goes into being a contributing member and the work ethic that is required of each individual. On Sunday, October 15th, ten members of our team brought that exact mentality to Costello. Even though many women on the team had never held a garden tool before stepping foot into the farm that sunny morning, they all left with the same sense of accomplishment, appreciation, and acceptance that I feel at Groundwork on a daily basis. That morning, we assisted the Groundwork team in harvesting over sixty pounds of cherry tomatoes and onions and prepared the field for winter. We removed and composted the tomato plants along with the invading weeds. Finally, we cleared the field of tomato stakes, twine, and debris.

The response from the Merrimack Women’s Hockey Team was incredible. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed getting out of our comfort zones and contributing to something larger than ourselves in order to assist the Groundwork Lawrence team with much-needed work. Luckily, the remaining half of the team had a service day on October 29th and was able to experience similar feelings of value while beginning to understand the necessity for community involvement and service. I am very appreciative to work in an environment where the family atmosphere is extended to include my other family, and, that they both learned something from one another that day.

2nd Annual Ellen Swallows Richard Lecture - Oct 12

The Ellen Swallow Richards (ESR) Lecture, held annually in Lawrence, Massachusetts, promotes women’s full access to science and engineering disciplines as well as ongoing efforts to solve environmental problems with insights from those disciplines.  Both concerns were quite important to Richards, the first female student admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (earning a B.S.

Green Team Summer 2017 Newsletter


So Fresh harvesting onions.7.21.17.jpg

After a successful seven weeks which included trips to the White Mountains and Yellowstone National Park, trail work with the Andover Village Improvement Society (AVIS), helping prepare and coordinating the Greenway 5K, growing food at Costello, stewarding parks across Lawrence, especially Ferrous, Den Rock, and those along the Spicket River Greenway, and so much more - Summer 2017's Green Team has concluded!

The 30 Green Team Members and 6 Green Team Leaders were phenomenal. They rose to every occasion and challenge in making Lawrence and the surrounding community greener, cleaner, and healthier. We are so proud of what they were able to accomplish, and we encourage you to read about it in their Summer 2017 Green Team Newsletter.

This newsletter, written and compiled by the Green Team leaders, shares the stories and successes of Green Team’s summer 2017 activities and service projects. Comprised of three groups, So Fresh, So Green Den Rock, and So Green Ferrous, 30 high schoolers from Lawrence worked and served for seven weeks in and around the city.

"Mountains to Main Street" in Lawrence



In late August, after most of Groundwork Lawrence’s summer youth programming had wrapped up, our own DOI/VISTA AmeriCorps Member, Eric Lundquist, wrapped up his own summer project by hanging up a beautiful banner along a Groundwork office wall. It’s only a temporary home, and it’s going to see some travel in the future. This is the culmination of a summer’s long journey with an intrepid group of Lawrence youth who explored their history, the national park system, and their identities as civic leaders as a part of the National Park Service’s Mountains to Mainstreet program.

Mountains To Mainstreet is an initiative from NPS designed to create ambassadors to the National Parks System that will bring a diversity of users into the parks by more honestly addressing their needs. Eric was invited to a trip to the Grand Tetons National Park to join workshops involving community members from all over the country. The workshop gave the attendees tools to formulate a project that will engage members of their community in a trip to a National Park, and Eric was thrilled to bring his plan back to Lawrence at the start of summer.