In August of 2016, if you had stood on the property that borders the western section of our GreenFriends Greenbelt Restoration Project, you would have seen land covered by blackberry, bindweed and ivy vines.
If you viewed the Greenbelt from that same place today, you would see an expanse of cleared land. The invasive plants have been replaced by more than 800 native trees, shrubs and ground covers.
While there will always be more work to do on this site… lots more… it also seemed like it was time for us to begin to focus on the adjacent Greenbelt site, the one to the north of the Hanford Stairs. I have been eager to begin that work in earnest for some time.
On December 10, we held a tiny work party. Four of the five people who registered for the event were individuals who have served as team leaders at previous work parties. Most of them have been involved with this project from the beginning. (The fifth person was a neighbor we had not met before. She and her daughter came for the last hour of the work party and dove right in; helping wherever they were needed. I look forward to working with the two of them in the future.)
This small group was an ideal way to begin our new focus. The photos below show what the area looked like when we began to work that morning.
(Click on any of the galleries to enlarge the photos.)
Before the work party:
Three of the participants worked in areas along the Hanford Stairs; one worked towards the top of the stairs, one in the middle and one towards the bottom. I cleaned up an old trash dump that was about 20 feet into the site. When I needed a break from trash, I pulled out ivy in the surrounding area.
This work party was interesting for a variety of reasons. It was the first time in years that we were working as individuals instead of leading teams of volunteers. Also, since we were each working in a different area, there was almost no interaction between us. From time to time, it was so quiet that I wondered if everyone had gone home. Soon after having that unlikely thought, I would see or hear the rustling of a branch and know I wasn’t alone. Working in the silence felt very sacred to me.
We accomplished so much during that three-hour period. The transformation was remarkable.
After the work party:
This land seems very different than our original site. There are fewer blackberry vines and more ivy. There are a lot of sword ferns and Oregon Grape shrubs. It will be interesting to see what other native plants are present when as everything begins to bloom in the Spring.
We’ve barely begun to explore this site, but we only need to look beyond the Hanford Stairs to see what our next steps will be.