After a year during which the pandemic has brought many activities to a halt, including our regular 2nd Thurs. and 4th Sat. public volunteer workdays, it was a much welcomed message from The Nature Conservancy and AmeriCorps Volunteer Coordinator Caitlin Embly to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Jan. 18 by arranging community-wide volunteering opportunities. ICF responded by submitting an invasive control project that Caitlin would then publicize to recruit volunteers. We continually have needed to control non-native invasive vines and shrubs threatening the rich diversity of our woodlands.
We were fortunate to have our project cutting and pulling oriental bittersweet and autumn olive along forest edges quickly attract sign-ups for all nine volunteers requested, most with Master Naturalist or Nature Conservancy affiliations. With good weather the full group, along with Ivy Creek coordinator Phil Stokes, freed many oaks, dogwoods, and tulip trees from the smothering bittersweet vines and dominating autumn olive. The enthusiastic group found the activity rewarding and found interesting nature discoveries including puttyroot orchid (pictured here) with its distinctive winter leaf.
The next similar volunteering opportunity at Ivy Creek will be a Family Volunteer workday on the weekend spanning Apr. 30 to May 3 that will be organized through United Way of Greater Charlottesville.
Photo: Catherine Boston