Cleveland chiefs chop and lop invasive crops
Posted by PAC Kyle Niemi, Friday, May 11, 2012
A dozen Coast Guard chief petty officers from the Cleveland Area Chiefs Mess gave up a couple hours of their day on May 10 to clear invasive plant species from an area of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Brecksville, Ohio.
Although they only cleared one area of the 33,000-acre plant and wildlife refuge, they left with a sense of pride for helping the park rangers ensure the prosperity of the native plants. Most also left with a couple scrapes and thorn pricks.
Chief Petty Officer Rachel Washko, of the 9th Coast Guard District, coordinated the community service project, enlisting the help of other members of the Cleveland Area Chiefs Mess.
After they received instruction from park rangers, they were given hand saws and loppers to clear large patches of autumn olive, honeysuckle and multiflora rose plants from the Terra Vista Natural Study Area.
“Volunteers are helping us to restore the natural ecosystem at Terra Vista and other sites throughout the park,” said Danae Wolfe, interpretive park ranger at the park.
“We hope that, through restoration initiatives and prevention of the spread of invasive plants, that our ecosystems will be healthier and more supportive of native wildlife,” she said.
The Cuyahoga Valley National Park ranks fifth among national parks for volunteerism, according to park rangers. It is also the 10th most visited national park in the country, with 2.5 million visitors per year.