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Invasive Pull – April 1, 2023

The forecast was calling for rain today, but, instead, we were surprised to see the warm sun shining down and bright blue skies. It turned out to be a very beautiful day, perfect for an invasive pull.

25 volunteers attended (the most we have ever had at a Free the Fern invasive pull!). For 13 of the volunteers, it was there first time volunteering with us! 8 of our volunteers were under the age of 18, most of them being between the ages of 10-12 years old. Together our volunteers contributed 54 volunteer hours removing at total of 2,640 L of invasive ivy and Himalayan blackberry (the equivalent of 8 city green bins)! Amazing!

As we had so many volunteers and a limited number of tools, we decided to divide and conquer. So, half the volunteers helped with clipping ivy, while the other half helped with digging out blackberry in our future Native Food Forest site along the Red Alder Trail.

We had quite a few volunteers curious to learn about the native plants and trees of the area. Some of the trees and plants that we noticed were: Oregon grape, sword fern, Pacific bleeding heart, oceanspray, Douglas fir, and Indigenous plum.

Volunteers also were excited to find old “artifacts” hidden beneath the invasive plants. Finds today included: an old glass salt shaker, a tube of Ghostbuster Toothpaste (from the 80’s!), a collection of shells, and a metal mixing bowl!

The youth volunteers were also fascinated to notice how large ivy vines can grow when growing up trees (as large as your arm around!). Several volunteers were eager to cut samples of these ivy vines, and were surprised to see the vines so thick that they grew rings like a tree!

Half way through the pull, everyone took a break and enjoyed juice, hot chocolate, tea and cookies together. It was also a chance to chat and make new friends. After the break we returned to continue pulling – filling 6 green bins with 2,640 L of invasive plants. We also filled a 180L garbage bin with plastic and metal waste. Incredible work everyone!

Thank you so much to our volunteers: Alyha, Annette, Aniikzha, Barbara, Carla, Chinonso, Cindy, Devi, Dimitri, Erin, Grace, Jasmine, Jeannine, Jo, Liam, Lucy, Martin, Patricia, Sam, Tom, and 5 more youth volunteers! Thank you and we hope to see most of you out again at a future pull.