Sarah Dopp, SB Land Trust and Peter Jones, SB Natural Resources Committee Chair taking a short rest during SB Arbor Day at Wheeler Nature Park.

Arbor Day in South Burlington – a great success!

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Thursday May 10, 2012

This past week, on May 2nd, Arbor Day was celebrated in South Burlington.  A group of over 25 enthusiastic volunteers joined forces at Wheeler Nature Park to tackle the invasive plants that threaten our Urban Forest.  Together with Craig Lambert, our City Arborist, the TREEage Volunteers and the SB Natural Resources Committee neighbors worked incredibly hard all day to remove Asiatic bittersweet (Celastrus orbicalatus) vines that have literally strangled many of the trees to death. 

Early in the day, we looked into the area of the peripheral forest near the Overlook (north of Park Road) and could not see through the mass of tangled vines.  It was daunting.  By noon we were beginning to clear the mass of vines and felt empowered by the fact that we were gaining control of the situation.  By the end of the day’s event, the tireless work of so many volunteers made a great impact on the problem and now, when you visit The Park, you will see the forest unencumbered by the vines.  Some of the trees are dead, but many still remain and their crowns showing the remnants of what were the incredibly powerful vines, yet their power is gone.

We would like to especially thank the Students from Vermont Commons School for participating in this event.  Their enthusiasm and tenacity with this project was not only a great help to combat the invasive vines, but also to remove much of the invasive Shrub Honeysuckle (Lonicer sp.) at the Overlook area.  Most of the Students participate in an Urban Forestry class where they are learning to be good stewards of our urban landscape.  Working together, we filled the big city truck four times with invasive plants to be destroyed.

This was the first of many events to be held at Wheeler Nature Park in our efforts to promote a meaningful Management Plan for this diverse city park.  We hope you’ll come to visit soon, take a short hike, enjoy the peaceful views, watch for wildlife and join us to help protect the natural beauty of The Park, for all to enjoy.

More information about this invasive plant:

Submitted by Marie Ambusk