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The Garden Club of America Celebrates Earth Day 2021

 

April 27, 2021

Pennsylvania and Delaware Clubs “Restored our Earth” with Weed Wrangle®

On Earth Day, April 22, GCA club volunteers partnered with park officials and volunteers to eliminate invasives at  Valley Forge National Historical ParkFrick Park, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, and Delaware Center for Horticulture, which is adjacent to Delaware State Park land in Wilmington.

Weed Wrangle® started as an initiative of the Garden Club of Nashville in 2015, and the concept soon spread across the United States. The purpose of a Weed Wrangle is to facilitate hands-on projects between local GCA clubs and national, state, and local land managers to eliminate invasives. 

At Valley Forge National Historical Park, volunteers from GCA clubs across the Philadelphia area removed garlic mustard by hand pulling. Kate Jensen, Valley Forge’s ecologist and invasive plant manager, laid out the park’s strict COVID guidelines and then led the group to an off-trail area. The work was vigorous and highly rewarding. Six bags of garlic mustard were filled. Kate explained that garlic mustard is a negative allelopathic, producing chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants and mycorrhizal fungi needed for healthy tree growth and tree seed survival. When some pollinators lay their eggs on the flowers, the chemical kills the larva - quite a noxious weed.

The Garden Club of Allegheny County (GCAC) organized its Weed Wrangle at the Nine Mile Run section of Frick Park, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. This site was chosen in honor of Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. who recommended that this land be returned to the community during the era when the steel industry was taking over the Pittsburgh area. Susan Rademacher, a GCA Honorary Member and retired Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Parks curator, welcomed the group. She spoke about the work of the Olmsted firm, the many famous landscape architects who emerged from his tutelage, and the impact that the Olmsteds had in the Pittsburgh region. Fourteen club members and a park naturalist wrangled-out invasive weeds. In the newly cleaned soil, they planted native seeds funded by the club. 

In 1977, members of the Garden Club of Wilmington (GCW) were founders of the Delaware Center for Horticulture (DCH), and the GCW continues to have dedicated volunteers and board members at DCH. Twelve  GCW members were joined at the Weed Wrangle by DCH’s executive director Vikram Krishnamurthy and two DCH volunteers as well as two missionary volunteers from a Delaware State Park. In state park land, they pulled garlic weed, wineberry, honeysuckle, and cut ivy from trees. As verified by the photo, the Wilmington Weed Wrangle team included a goat– an animal known for browsing on anything including weeds. 

To learn more about Earth Day please visit Earth Day 2021.

Following the success of this year’s event, the GCA’s Conservation Committee hopes there will be many more Weed Wrangle events, not only in Pennsylvania and Delaware, but across the United States. Removing invasive plants is a simple way everyone can help fulfill Olmsted’s dream of preserving scenic lands for all Americans.

Weed Wrangle® is proud to be an Olmsted 200 Celebration Partner, holding events that will preserve our public space.

 

 

 

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