On the sunny morning of November 17, I found myself working up a sweat while pulling Grapevine and Buckthorn along side the road of the Riverview location for RRF. With another service member, I began to pull down the Grapevine that had completely crowded a Nanny Berry, or Viburnum, and young Violets on the forest bed. The Buckthorn was about the last living green plant so it was easy to target. I was successful with my classmate in finding major roots of the Grapevine plants and cutting them close to the source. We worked as a team; I found the source and cut it while my partner pulled down most of the larger vines. We even removed a few trees that had been cut but were just lying across the Viburnum. We removed what seemed like tons of invasive plants from the small area. People had been using it as a small dumping area since it was secluded at the end of a cul de sac. We found chunks of carpets and two large wreaths from a past winter among other garbage that would be cleared at a later date.
The success of clearing out the area around the Viburnum was rewarding. I could not believe the difference after the Grapevine and Buckthorn had been removed, it was worse in the beginning than I thought. Vince told us that we had done something we could be proud of and I definitely was. Each major vine ripped down made significant progress and encouraged us to keep going. It was not strenuous work to pull on Grapevine and clip roots; I found it exciting and fun to watch the progress before my eyes. By the end, I could see through the entire area around the Viburnum and we revealed a lot of sunlight for the growing Violets. After the clearing, it will be easier to go back through the plants and remove the rest of the roots that had been cut. This will in turn improve the quality of the lithosphere within the area. The native species can begin working together again to provide rich plant life, which will bring forth more diversity within the river ecosystem.
Realizing the impact of my help for RRF, has been gratifying. I worked for about two and a half hours that morning and it was enough time to clear the area significantly and clean up the debris. The excess branches were used to create a fence around the starter garden that was planted over the semester in order to improve the quality of the lithosphere and hydrosphere by reintroducing native species. I enjoyed that RRF already had a plan for the excess matter to be used for another positive mission. It is beneficial for the ecosystem but also for the socio-cultural aspect of RRF. When people can find aesthetic value in their surroundings, they will work harder to preserve that space. By clearing out this small but easily seen area at the end of the road, we created a more pleasing view for locals to see. When every part of the Riverview location is cared for, society will recognize the time and effort put into nurturing the wildlife. This will promote involvement and expansion of environmental restoration. The best part about giving back to the planet is that every good deed counts and not matter how small, it will always leave a positive trace.