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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Wheaton Regional Park, Wheaton, Maryland, USA

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Wheaton Regional Park, Wheaton, Maryland, USA
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Registered: December 2013
City/Town/Province: Rockville
Posts: 1
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I consider Wheaton Regional Park my home away from home-when I was younger I would often clamor my parents to take me to the park and play on the large playground, run around the gardens, go in the nature center, Brookside Nature Center and look at the snakes. Now that I am older, it’s easier for me to get to the park, where I spend my time hiking, running, or occasionally visiting the nature center. I got so much out of the park over the years, and I always felt I should give back. At first I did this through becoming a certified Weed Warrior (certified to identify and remove invasive plants) and weeding the park every other Sunday. But, I felt this was not enough. When I learned of this scholarship program, it allowed me to talk Brookside’s director, Geri Drymalski, into letting me organize and lead an invasive plant removal project.

The project involved removing five invasive species, tearthumb, wineberry, multiflora rose, porcelain berry, and thistle, identified because the time frame I planned to perform my project coincided with the period the plants had just started growing and had not yet gone to seed. I removed all plant of these three species from approximately and acre of land that bordered the nature center’s service road on one end, and extended deep into the woods, on the left. Also, most of the plants were concentrated near the service road, which made deploying and supervising volunteers much easier. Once the plants were removed, I had my volunteers haul them off in tarps to a site where they wouldn’t regrow. Most of the plants near the service road were very concentrated together, which meant once they were removed, a large swath of dirt was left over: a perfect environment for new invasive plants to grow. In thus, I had my volunteers mulch the area to make it harder for invasive plants to grow in the area. Also, Geri wanted me to help with another project to create a pollinator garden, which she notified me of the day of the project, but I was happy to oblige. The garden was approximately 20ft wide and 30 ft long, and I was required to weed the area, lay down compost in the pre-sectioned off plant areas, and mulch the walkways around the garden. Another group would lay the actual plants down later that day. I had my volunteers transport the extra mulch in wheelbarrows from the invasive plant removal site to the garden site, and thankfully I had enough extra mulch to cover the walkways adequately. Geri provided the compost, as she had given me the project so last minute, which I had my volunteers haul in wheelbarrows into the garden and spread with shovels.

My project required lots of supplies, wheelbarrows to haul the mulch up the service road and to the garden, shovels and rakes to spread the mulch and compost, not to mention gloves, trowels, hats to remove the invasive plants and refreshment for my volunteers as they were going to be working most of the day. Most of my supplies I procured by asking several hardware stores for donations-and Home Depot was the only store that would give me all the materials I needed. I procured my food donations from donations given to my by my local Safeway, Giant, and Food Lion, who were gracious enough to give me gift cards to buy all the food I required. The volunteers I recruited from people I had worked with in the Weed Warrior program, several scout from my Boy Scout Troop 457 (I am an Eagle Scout), along with several friend I had on my church’s Green Committee.
In recruiting all my volunteers I had to explain to them the vital importance of this project-why should anyone care about some invasive plants anyway? I started off by explain how it wasn’t just “some” invasive plants-there were thousands of invasive plant in the area I was working in alone-and even one invasive plant is an invasive plant too many. Invasive plants are plants from one ecosystem or one area brought into a completely new area purposely by people (usually to control erosion). The plant finds itself completely at home in this new area, and since it enjoys no natural predators (animals that will eat this plant) as it is in a completely different habitat and the animals currently living in said habitat won’t eat it because it’s so new, it grows, and grows, and grows. It always grows more than the surrounding, native plants, as it enjoys having no natural predators, and often chokes out the native plants. The animals living in the ecosystem run out of available food or shelter, and often die as well, which could lead to ecosystem collapse and a decrease in biodiversity. Invasive species are one of the largest threats to our planet, and through this project, I did my part to halt their takeover of my community. My project has given the local habitat some much-needed time to recover slightly, but my project will not be enough to completely eradicate these species from the area; more projects must be done to remove these species completely from my community and rehabilitate the habitat so native species can flourish once again. In thus, I have talked to Geri and she has allow me to do a second project in Wheaton Regional Park, but in a larger area to combat more invasive species.
Date: December 29, 2013 Views: 7949 File size: 26.5kb, 226.2kb : 640 x 480
Hours Volunteered: 203
Volunteers: 27
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 13 to 54
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Registered: December 2013
City/Town/Province: Jos
Posts: 3
December 31, 2013 9:25am

Wow nice essay keep it up.