To help improve the environment around our school the Green Team planned three community service ivy pulls to remove invasive plants by the tennis courts. The first took place in early November, the second one in mid December and the most recent one at the end of January.
For the Green Team the ivy pulls are about more than just clearing the area of invasive plants, but also about cleaning up the environment, saving trees and working as a community to do so. With the objective of clearing the school grounds of ivy, Green Team advisor Breck Foster stated, “We’re going to work our way around the perimeter of the school. We’d love to get it all done by the end of the year and then maintain that year after year.” Besides helping the school become more green, Breck Foster also explained how another point of the community events has been to “plant the idea with kids that you’re saving trees and fighting climate change by saving [them].”
The most recent of the ivy pulls occurred on Friday, Jan. 24. This time around, the Green Team collaborated with National Honor Society. Junior Nate Foster a member of both NHS and the Green Team said, “We really wanted to do an all NHS event, so we decided the best way to do that would be to do something locally…where we can see an impact at our own school.” Once they had decided on volunteering at the school, knowing that the Green Team was also doing something, the idea of getting NHS involved in the Green Team’s activity emerged. As a result, many students, members and non members of the Green Team and NHS, came together to continue the Green Team’s ivy-pulling goal. As hoped, the joint ivy pull had the biggest turn out with over 82 people in attendance.
The students organized in three groups and went down the hill towards the road to remove the invasive plant. Ivy was ripped out of the ground by the handful and stacked in large piles in an attempt to keep it off the ground. Students were told to be sure they removed the root in order to stop the ivy from growing back. The hope was that by removing ivy, room for native plant species could be made.
“English Ivy is an invasive species that grows incredibly quickly up and around trees,” said Nate Foster. “As it grows up, it smothers the tree and mature ivy can weigh almost as much as the tree itself, causing the tree to snap or fall.”
The volunteers worked hard, spending the better part of the morning pulling up ivy, digging out roots, cutting ivy off trees and removing the thorny vines of blackberry bushes. Heaps of ivy was pulled, hopefully permanently removing the plant from large areas of LO’s property. According to Nate Foster, around 6000 square feet was cleared.
“I would definitely say the event was a success! We saved around 15 trees, cleared a ton of space for new plants, removed trash from the woods (items included a sofa, road signs, and soccer goals), and showed everyone who participated the importance of removing ivy, blackberries and getting outside to protect nature.”