Church group tackles invasive species

friendsNaturalist's Corner

Photo of Life Point Church groupMost of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail has wooded edges that is habitat for a diversity of wildlife. The trees, shrubs, vines and herbaceous ground cover provide fruit and seeds, green browse, winter cover, nesting sites, and protection from predators. One of the many services that Isabela Torres, our 2018 summer intern, provided was to design a long-term plan to increase the quality of the wooded edge of the trail. Engaging volunteers to remove invasive species and to plant native ones is a big part of that plan. Isabela established a volunteer data base of churches, schools and other groups to provide volunteers to remove invasive plants.

The first group to volunteer was from LifePoint Church of Goshen on Oct. 7. According to pastor Michael Hays, “LifePoint sent these volunteers to work on the Pumpkinvine Trail as part of our ‘Go Sunday’ celebration, where we all gathered at church briefly that morning to then go out into our community and show God’s love through service. We had groups volunteering all over Goshen. The Pumpkinvine is a valuable part of the community, so when we learned of a need for some work along the trail, it seemed like
a good project to add to our list.”

The 12 volunteers, along with Bud Wulliman from the Friends board, worked on the Pumpkinvine south of Abshire Park, removing tree of heaven saplings from the edges
of the trail. They lopped off the woody stems and sprayed the cut ends with herbicide. In
preparation for the volunteers, Aaron Sawatsky-Kingsley (Goshen City Forester), Bud Wulliman and John Smith (volunteer naturalist) had marked invasive plants for removal.

Increasing the quality of the wooded edges of the Pumpkinvine is a long-term, on-going project. Volunteer groups of Friends of the Pumpkinvine and outside groups, such as LifePoint Church, will be needed from May through October each year. Look for calls for volunteers in upcoming Friends of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail Newsletter and Facebook page.