Keeping up the local tradition of Earth Day work parties, volunteers from across the community gathered at Yost Park early Saturday to rip, tear, uproot and clear the jungles of non-native and invasive plants threatening to take over areas of the park.
“English Ivy is the worst offender,” said Jesse Curran, horticulturalist for the Edmonds Parks Department and unofficial organizer of the day’s efforts. “We’re also taking out English Holly and blackberry, and this fall we’ll be replacing them with native plants like ferns, Oregon grape and salal. The reason we don’t replant now is that we’re heading into the dry season, and the new plants need plenty of water to get established. The fall rains supply that naturally, and by next spring they’ll be all watered in and ready to really grow.”
The Earth Day event is the latest in an array of volunteer work parties that provide much-needed support to the City of Edmonds in their efforts to keep local parks beautiful and well-maintained. According to Curran, each year volunteers contribute “thousands” of hours to help with critical maintenance work. These include not only ad hoc volunteer events such as Saturday’s, but many that are sponsored by local businesses including Windermere Realty, The Hotel Group, and others.
“We literally couldn’t do what we do without the help of these volunteers,” he said. “Our small regular staff is stretched to limit just performing basic maintenance tasks. And with the upcoming summer season we’ll be even busier with things like mowing lawns, getting the pool and spray pad up and running, and keeping up with ongoing general maintenance. These areas where we’re always fighting invasives would be absolutely out of control without their help.”
If you or your group would like to help out, Curran urges you to contact Jennifer Leach at the City Parks Department. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
“There’s always plenty to do,” added Curran, “and we really appreciate the help.”
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel