Volunteers protect Charlotte park from invaders - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Volunteers protect Charlotte park from invaders

Charlotte, Vermont - November 7, 2010

Community members and University of Vermont students came together to remove noxious invaders Sunday. It's all part of a bigger project for the Charlotte Park and Wildlife Refuge.

With over 290 acres, the Charlotte Park and Wildlife Refuge is filled with diverse woodlands and wetlands, and on Sunday it was also bustling with volunteers cutting away some unwelcome visitors. "We don't have the money to hire people to do all this work," said Susan Smith, a member of the park's oversight committee. "We're changing the forest to become more of a natural, native setting," said Sean Mahoney, one of over 30 UVM students and community members helping remove invasive species growing throughout the park. "We're removing invasive Japanese Common Honey Suckle, Buckthorn, and Glossy Buckthorn, in order improve some of the bird habitat and make it so some of our native seedlings, sugar maple and beach can come up through."

The honey suckle is bad for birds to eat and chokes out native plants. "It fills them up but there's no real energy reserve so when the song birds migrant to South America most of them don't have enough fat reserve to continue their trip."

Volunteers are using a cut and paint method -- cut down the invasive species then paint the stump to keep it from coming back. "It's a technique we learned from the Nature Conservancy and it won't grow back," Smith said.

The invasive species date back hundreds of years. Japanese Honey Suckle is from the mid 1800's and was a common garden plant. "What happens -- we brought them in and then they escaped and became part of our natural environment, but not so natural of a piece so they kind of went crazy and had no natural predators going at them specifically," Mahoney said.

What's become an important project for the park. "One of the projects that we didn't tackle for several years was getting rid of invasive plants, and we've been working on the project for a few years now and can really see a difference," said Jenny Cole, another oversight committee member.

Bringing the land back to it roots.

Gina Bullard - WCAX News

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