I've written before about how my kids' quest for community service hours have led us out on environmental adventures. (Check out here and here for a trip down memory lane from last summer). Summer is certainly a great time to try to nail out those hours... and often time it becomes a family affair. We've tackled a few different types of community service this summer including sandwich making for the homeless and taking part in Operation Welcome Home for returning military.
I will say, the biggest, physically hardest, and certainly sweatiest thing we have done was at a local park where we spent the morning tackling the invasive Japanese Wisteria & Oriental Bittersweet. The information sheet below is from the park about how to spot Japanese Wisteria. Use it to see if you have this strangulating plant is in your backyard. As for the Oriental Bittersweet, think thorny vining rose branch, twisting through the plants! Ouch! Luckily we heeded the request to wear long pants and bring work gloves, despite the 90+ degree heat and all the sweat that ensued!
It was startling to learn that the park had been overrun with the Japanese Wisteria after just one plant was planted (and went to seed)--over 25 years ago! Equally startling, after the 2 and a half hours of clearing the vines & filling bags of the remnants (along with a dozen or more other volunteers), we really only attacked one small part of the trail. Remarkable to think of the man power that would be needed to cover the miles of trail throughout the park.
Despite the achy muscles the next day, it actually did feel good to get outside, work up a lot of sweat equity, and get out some aggression on these nasty space invaders. It's worth watching your local parks to see what kinds of volunteer opportunities are available in your community! I'd love to hear about it!
Info sheets from Downs Park and pictures compiled using the Pic Collage app and our family photos.