Earth Day at the Res

Celebrating Earth Day on April 22, 2023, the Reservoir Committee members, along with about 30 volunteers, worked to maintain the health of the Reservoir. Splitting into three groups, they (1) removed invasive plants such as Garlic Mustard, (2) put new plants in the Habitat Garden, and (3) did a spring cleanup on other parts of the garden. These teams were led by Johanna Meyer, Jennifer Tidwell, and George Stephans respectively.

Johanna led a group of dedicated workers pulling Garlic Mustard, an invasive species seen proliferating, which has begun to flower. This plant’s removal leads to a more balanced ecosystem as its absence allows noninvasive species to grow, including the Canadian Anemone and the May Apple. The group cleared most of the Garlic Mustard near the shade garden. Volunteer families filled seven leaf bags and many paper shopping bags with pesky Garlic Mustard plants which was fun and easy work for the kids.

At the same time, Jennifer brought violets, Pennsylvania Sedges, and Mountain Mint to be planted under the Serviceberry Tree. They aren’t only grown for their good looks; according to Jennifer, they attract native insects, act as “pollinator powerhouses,” and ward off unwanted pests. She led three volunteers, and together, they worked diligently in the Shade Garden, planting these native species and checking on growing plants. By adding more beneficial plants, the Committee hopes to increase the diversity of the animals and insects. For bonus points, a volunteer extracted a large Bittersweet root (another invasive species) near the rose bushes!

Meanwhile, George led volunteers to address the overgrown grass in the Habitat Sun Garden. While grass is vital to provide a habitat for insects, its excessive growth limits space for other plants and needs to be cleared. Together, the volunteers pried up grass plantings and replanted them in locations where they will hopefully limit the spread of invasive Japanese knot-weed. Dead grass was removed to make healthy plantings more visible, and wood chips were used to outline the pathways in both gardens.

It was a very productive day at the Reservoir, so be sure to stop by and view the progress as the plants grow. Better yet, help out on the next work day, May 20, and be a part of this amazing effort!

Reporting by Yujia Wang and Isabella Jardine.  Editing by David White, Johanna Meyer, George Stephans.