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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Lake Piney Z, Tallahassee, FLorida, USA

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Lake Piney Z, Tallahassee, FLorida, USA
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Registered: June 2014
City/Town/Province: Tallahassee
Posts: 1
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I am Nathan, a 17 year old soccer player from Tallahassee Florida who fell in love with the woods due to my favorite hobbies of trail running and mountain biking. Because of my love for the great outdoors, I couldn’t help but notice the vines taking over the beautiful trees on the trails where I run and bike. Some of the trees were so engulfed by the vines that they eventually died, at times falling into the trail paths. I decided that I could help do something about this and asked my dad to help me; so another hobby blossomed. I began to take down vines next to the trail because I felt as though it was my duty as a frequent user of the trail to do my part in keeping it clear. Over time I took down more and more vines and began targeting vines climbing on and around oak trees because they’re beautiful works of time that deserve to be saved. During the past several years, I’ve spent about 200 hours taking down deadly vines that were killing our beautiful oak trees. This year alone, I’ve spent nearly 50 hours protecting our state trees from these greedy invasive vines. My work inspired my brothers and dad to join me around Lake Piney Z. Lake Piney Z is a beautiful little lake enjoyed by walkers, runners, bikers, photographers, kayakers, canoers and more. And in my opinion the two staples to its beauty are the cypress trees in the water and the hundreds of oak trees surrounding the water and hills. But, one by one, oak trees were being swallowed by invasive vines such as kudzu and followed by vines growing up to 2 feet in diameter. So I took it in my hands to save these beautiful trees! I do this by cutting the vines six feet up their stalks, so I can stop the growth of the current vines. I then cut them again as close to the ground as possible to speed up the decay of the roots. The height of the cut helps in two ways. The roots of a freshly cut vine cannot climb back down into the ground as they would with a lower cut. And, it will take away a place for younger vines to grab onto in order to conquer yet another tree. Since I encountered many different vine positions and species I developed multiple techniques for cutting different vines using various tools. Many of the larger vines have to be cut using saws, either bow or foldable, depending on the location of the cut. Then after some months pass, the languishing vines are able to be pulled down. But some of the smaller vines can be cut in groups using a machete or with hand clippers and can be immediately pulled because they aren’t as ensconced as the thicker vines. When the larger vines are pulled down, the relief of weight helps the tree recover from being choked and weighted down. The vines in many cases scar the trees by wrapping so tightly around the tree that they cut into the tree and can kill branches. When the smaller vines are pulled down it gives the tree a different sense of reprieve as the sunlight the suffering tree has so longed for is returned. This is because the thinner vines go straight up the tree and spread an abundance of broad leaves that litter the tops of trees everywhere. Once firmly positioned in the tree, they begin to thicken and weigh down the tree. Throughout the years that I've worked to remove the vines, I have saved fourteen oak trees and countless pines surrounding oaks due to the fact that the vines will branch off of one tree and on to the next. Not only are the oak trees our state tree but they do an amazing job of preventing soil erosion close to the water; their deep tap roots hold the soil firmly while their horizontal roots can stretch enough to hold almost an acre of soil down. Throughout my time working on this project, I have found multiple dead oak trees close to the water with their long maze of roots pulled from their home and left in the air to rot leaving unprotected soil to erode. Since oak roots many times will tangle and wrap around each other, the surrounding oak trees are then at greater risk of being killed by vines by their now comprised root systems. Since the majority of the trees along the perimeter of the lake are oaks swarmed by vines, the lake is being exponentially polluted by nitrogen and phosphorus filled soil runoff, which, in excess can cause an algal bloom and kill thousands of fish and destroy an entire eco system just as easily as my machete can take out 5 thin vines. My goal is to continue to save these oak trees from these alien climbers so that the hundreds, maybe thousands of people who enjoy this area, including me, can continue to be amazed by the scenery. This has been such a wonderful and fulfilling experience and we have had an incredibly positive response from people passing by in the trails and on kayaks or canoes. It has inspired me to not just view nature but ask “how I can help preserve it?”
· Date: June 18, 2014 · Views: 2327 · File size: 32.5kb, 3866.5kb · : 1936 x 1936 ·
Hours Volunteered: 600
Volunteers: 5
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 12 to 47
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