Volunteers sought for plant pull in New West

Royal City residents are invited to attend Round 2 of a project aimed at ridding Glenbrook Ravine of invasive plants.

New West resident Kyle Routledge has spearheaded an effort to remove invasive plants like ivy and Himalayan blackberry from the ravine and to plant native species. Volunteers are welcome to take part in an invasive plant pull on Saturday, June 17 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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“It would be nice to have 25 to 30 people out,” he said. “It is going to take years to get the whole area in good shape. It’s a big project.”

Routledge organized last year’s shoreline cleanup in Queensborough and thought it would be nice to do something on the city’s mainland, as this is where many of the volunteers came from. While walking his dog through the ravine, the wildlife biologist wondered how the birds and other wildlife would benefit if trees and the ground weren’t covered in invasive species.

On a rainy day in May, a group of volunteers began work on ecologically enhancing Glenbrook Ravine by removing ivy and Himalayan blackberry. The results were immediately noticeable.

“Bigtime,” Routledge said. “It was really rewarding. It rained that morning – I thought if we didn’t see a lot of progress people were going to get discouraged. I even had one guy tell me this is a very daunting task. I thought that was an appropriate way to describe it. Every time we go out there, we get a little bit more done and a little bit more done. It becomes less and less daunting until it isn’t anymore.”

In addition to this weekend’s event, a third plant pull will be held on a to-be-determined date later this summer. At a fourth event in the early fall, volunteers will plant native species to help prevent the invasive plants from returning next year.

Volunteers of all ages are welcome to attend the event. If possible, they’re encouraged to bring supplies like shovels, clippers, loppers and thick gloves.

“We have got water and snacks,” Routledge said. “Anything that people can bring is great, but if don’t have anything to bring, just show up. We will have tools and stuff for people.

Local Guides, Brownies, Cubs and Scouts will be helping out by building birdhouses that will be set up in the ravine. When the project resumes next year, volunteers will continue to remove invasive plants and will also build bat houses.

“We were going to do that this year as well but because it’s going to be a long-term project there was no sense in trying to get everything done in the first year,” Routledge said. “We will just go step by step.”

For more information, contact  Routledge at kyleroutledge@gmail.com.

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