Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall Happenings at Riverside Park

The past couple of weeks have seen drastic changes at Riverside Park.

Continuing the work done by Gorge Stewards in May, volunteers from Aveda joined Gorge Stewards and FMR on September 29th. With the temperatures peaking in the mid 70's, volunteers worked hard in the sunshine removing several invasives, including buckthorn, burdock and motherwort. Manual removal and weeding prepared the area for planting and meant that the site would not need to be treated with herbicides.

This past Saturday, October 9th, nearly 40 volunteers joined ecologists from Ecological Strategies and members of the Gorge Leadership Team to follow up on the hard work of the Aveda crew. Getting their hands dirty in the soil, groups planted several species of native shrubs, grasses, and forbs (wildflowers).

Digging in! Basking in the sunshine, volunteers dig a small trench around the freshly weeded planting beds to keep the turf from encroaching.

Volunteers of all ages were present to restore Riverside Park. Recycled newspaper was spread around seedlings to keep out encroaching weeds, giving the natives a chance to thrive.

Volunteers begin spreading woodchips around some of the 5 grass species and 17 wildflower species planted at the site.

At the end of the day, volunteers planted 63 shrubs - dwarf bush honeysuckle, meadow rose and wolfberry - and about 260 native grass and wildflower seedlings - little bluestem, blazing star, columbine, and more - and helped redefine the trail edge leading down to the beautiful Mississippi.

Once dominated by sprawling invasives, Riverside Park is going back to its native roots with the help of these amazing volunteers. Look for events in the spring for ways you can continue to help restore Riverside Park and watch these plants grow!

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