‘No Ivy League’ pulls up invasive plants in Powellhurst-Gilbert

Find out why these “No Ivy League” volunteers yank out weeds by the handful …

AmeriCorps member and school instructor Melina Maltese pulls ivy, along with student volunteers with Alpha High School Patience Demmert, Sam Ogleznev, and Kyle Anderson.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It’s a late-summer tradition in outer East Portland – volunteers calling themselves the “No Ivy League” head out to Portland area parks and public spaces and spend the day pulling up invasive plants.

Powellhurst-Gilbert Greening Advocate Dolores Wood again spearheaded her neighborhood’s effort on October 5, along the Springwater Trail, just east of SE 128th Avenue.

As an incentive, Powellhurst-Gilbert Greening Advocate Dolores Wood brought her classic Scottish shortbread to share – it won first place at the 2013 Kelso Highland Games.

“We work almost every month to preserve and restore plants along the Springwater Trail,” Wood said.

“We pull English ivy off the trees,” Wood told East Portland News. “The ivy chokes the nutrients out of the trees and other flora in the area.”

The buildup of foliage also creates a fire hazard, and can also cause flood damage, Wood explained. “We replant the area with foliage that holds the water in the soil.”

Alpha High School student volunteers Christina Espinoza and Missy Barlow snip and pull ivy vines and blackberry bushes along the Springwater Trail.

In addition to pulling ivy, Portland Parks & Recreation City Nature East Stewardship Coordinator Susan Hawes said that also being uprooted was another invasive, thorny plant, Himalayan blackberry.

“Events like these are important to the mission of the Parks Bureau, because we are working on increasing the quality of the habitat here,” Hawes said.

Portland Parks & Recreation City Nature East Stewardship Coordinator Susan Hawes says she’s grateful for the help of volunteers on projects like this.

“We would not be able to do all of this work on our own, with only Parks Bureau staff,” Hawes. “Having volunteers come in and help with this is really critical and crucial. This work might not happen otherwise.

“And, this is a great way for people to connect with their local parks and the local natural areas,” Hawes added. “As an added benefit, many volunteers say they make new friends while they connect with nature.”

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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