Pete Johnson, conservation chair for the Ixia Chapter of FNPS, lives nearby and had noticed the large number of invasive plants on this property. He worked with Andrew Morrow, executive director for the Mandarin Museum and Historical Society and Betsy Miller, JCA Youth Services Director to coordinate this project.
Andrew said, “I’m excited that we could coordinate this effort work on our invasive species problem. Many folks who come through Walter Jones Park look around at all the beautiful plants and do not realize that many of them don’t belong in the natural environment that we would like to depict.” He noted the City of Jacksonville had previously conducted one program to eradicate the camphor trees that are in the park.
“Invasive species takes a lot of work to get rid of,” he continued.“We’re going to have to hit them again and again over several years before they are completely removed. And then we still have to be vigilant so they don’t pop up again.” This was part of that effort.
Several members of the native plant society started early and marked quite a few of the invasive plants with pink tape so the teens could see which ones were to be pulled up.
The JCA’s Jacksonville Teens Volunteer program meets once a month during the school year. The volunteers meet at different non-profit locations and help with a variety of projects. On on this October afternoon they were ready to pull out invasive plants.
A true team project!
Some of the students wondered whether there was an easier way to accomplish this task. After an in-depth discussion, they agreed that there is no real substitute for hand pulling and judicial herbicide application to larger plants.
A job well done! Fifteen bags were filled with invasive plants and sealed tight so none of the berries or small trees could be inadvertently planted at another site. These bags will go out with the trash, not the yard waste--we don't want to create new problems.
Go to the FNPS website for information on your local FNPS chapter's activities. Also see details on the FNPS's annual conference in May 2011. This year it's in Orlando; it will be fun and educational. We hope to see you there!