Volunteers spruce up Sunnyside forest
A record number of volunteers turned out last weekend to help with planting and invasive-plant removal at Sunnyside Acres.
Sunnyside Acres Heritage Society’s Ron Meadley said 78 people, young and old alike, spent more than two hours planting 500 shrubs and seedlings in an area of the forest that was affected by root rot. They also helped pull out a record number of invasive plants – primarily lamium.
The non-native groundcover is popular in hanging baskets, Meadley said. It finds its way into the forest by way of people dumping the greenery there after the arrangements have deteriorated.
Notices are posted around the urban forest in an effort to raise awareness of the issue created by introducing invasive species there.
“It’s so invasive,” Meadley said of lamium. “It basically chokes out all the native groundcover (and) takes over.”
Volunteers have been working on clearing it from in and around the 24 Avenue parking lot for about three years, he added.
“It’s been a success story, finally,” Meadley said. “Now we’ve got it under control.
“Thanks – from the forest.”
The turnout also earned the society $1,000 towards future efforts, a donation from Starbucks representing $10 per volunteer hour (to a maximum of $1,000).
The next planting event is expected to take place in late September.
Meanwhile, Meadley invited anyone interested to join in May 31 celebrations planned to mark the 20th anniversary of the urban forest’s dedication.
The party will include games, refreshments, birdhouse-building, a treasure hunt, face painting and cake. The first 50 families to attend will receive a Dogwood seedling.
The celebration will go ahead rain or shine. It gets underway at 11 a.m. in the 24 Avenue parking lot (across from and just west of the entrance to Softball City).