About 15 HandsOn Greater Richmond volunteers got their shot Saturday at removing invasive plants from the areas surrounding the parking lot at Pony Pasture and restoring native plants, such as Virginia bluebells.
The temperature was in the mid 40s and the snow was gone, but the ground was still somewhat frozen. The work involved cutting down unwanted bushes and pulling anything green — which is easy to determine in winter. Among the invasive species on the unwanted list are Japanese honeysuckle, English ivy, China privet, and wisteria.
“People’s hedges have washed down here and settled during annual floods,” said James River Park manager Ralph White. “Density of invasive species has a negative impact on native species. Sunlight cannot reach the native plants, the unwanted plants catch all the light.”
Among the volunteers was the mother-daughter duo of Belinda Brown and her daughter Chayenne, who was volunteering to help fulfill the 30 hours of community service she needs for her IB program at Fairfield Middle School.
“We’ve been enjoying it…we wanted to give back,” Belinda said. “Her father and I are trying to teach her the importance of giving service.”
This past weekend’s cleanup was originally scheduled for December but was snowed out. There have already been several invasive species removal volunteer events at Pony Pasture, so if you are interested please check www.HandsOnGR.org.