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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Woodland Hills Park, Farmington Hills, Michigan, USA

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Woodland Hills Park, Farmington Hills, Michigan, USA
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Registered: December 2012
City/Town/Province: FARMINGTON HILLS
Posts: 1
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Operation Extermination

It was a sunny day in early March 2012. The group gathered before me at the trail head of Woodland Hills Park in Farmington Hills, Michigan. I began by thanking them for coming out on that beautiful, yet crisp Sunday morning. Then I gave my instructions on how we were going to protect our beautiful park from the invasive plant species Rhamnus cathartica, more commonly called buckthorn.
My name is Mark and I organized a removal of buckthorn from our local park. For a nature lover and Eagle Scout organizing this project was a no brainer. Especially after taking AP Biology and AP Environmental Science at North Farmington High School, this project became more than simple volunteerism. I chose to do this because buckthorn can spread relatively quickly and is an aggressive competitor for light, space, and water; meaning it kills local plant life and takes over the ecosystem. In order to prevent this tragedy from happening, my fellow volunteers and I decided to act.
We chose Woodland Hills because it was the root (no pun intended) of the problem. This local park contains 74 acres of beautiful scenery and is located south of I-696, the local freeway, on the west side of Farmington road. This park features 5 trails that wind through serene woodlands to a large pond on the west side of the park. It is one of the best places in the city to go when one needs peace, quite, and some alone time. However, it has recently been affected by buckthorn, which is threatening the local ecosystem and putting our peaceful little park in danger.
Our goal was to remove as much of the vile organism as possible; we did this and then some. During our 2 day battle we named Operation Extermination; we successfully removed all the buckthorn along 3 of the trails and made a large dent on the other 2 trails. Using everything from axes and handsaws to chainsaws and a wood chipper, we worked a total of 300 man hours (15 workers for 10 hours each day) to protect our local ecosystem. We had also partnered up with the city of Farmington Hills and agreed they would carry out the wood chips and piles twigs, branches, and logs if my group did all the manual labor. In the end it worked out well and Woodland Hills is once again the showcase for a Southeast Michigan ecosystem.
This project has given me greater awareness of the true threat of invasive species. It also taught me it is important to take care of one's local area so those who currently live and will eventually live there can enjoy the same peacefulness I have. Operation Extermination has not only brought about greater awareness, but a drive to continue battling anything that may harm our local ecosystems. For me, this is to fight man made climate change as a meteorologist/climatologist; which this scholarship will help pay for. Long live planet Earth!
Date: December 24, 2012 Views: 5907 File size: 20.4kb, 126.6kb : 720 x 540
Hours Volunteered: 300
Volunteers: 15
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 19 & 15 to 45
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 29.6
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