PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A group of volunteers in Peoria are dedicating the first Sunday of every month to eliminating invasive species at Rocky Glen Park.
While cutting brush, sawing trees and hauling dead wood might be a chore for some, it makes for a fun Sunday for volunteers with the Friends of Rocky Glen. David Pittman president of the group said he enjoys getting outdoors.
“Its just a nice way to spend a few hours on a weekend,” Pittman said.
Pittman said the goal of the group is to return the hiking hotspot to its’ natural habitat by clearing non-native species from the forest. Plants such as Autumn Olive call the forest home, but are not native to the region and can take nutrients away from native plants.
“Autumn olive will take over an area and smother out native plant communities,” Pittman said. “Our job is to try and counter that a little bit.”
He said it’s a long process and it’s not easy, but without them the job wouldn’t be done. Pittman said the volunteers enjoy the job.
“It’s good, hard physical exercise; you feel like you’re making a difference and for those of us that like plants and outdoors, it’s a win-win,” Pittman said.
The group welcomes all volunteers of all ages. College student Kallyn Allen is majoring in environmental science and said helping at Rocky Glen gives her real world experience after college.
“The textbooks aren’t going do all the work that needs done out here,” Allen said.
Allen said the work is fulfilling and hopes more people take pride in maintaining a public place people can use and enjoy.
“This is all our environment and we should all be knowledgeable about those things and be willing to put a hand in and help out,” Allen said.
Pittman said the group is always looking for extra helping hands and encourages those who are interested to reach out to him.
Find out how to get involved on the Friends of Rocky Glen website.
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