Our elementary school's service club met at the lush Tryon Creek State Park Saturday to pull invasive English ivy. Our families were few but mighty. We came armed with water bottles and snacks. The organizers knew in advance we were a kid-heavy group, and had pre-sorted a selection of smallish work gloves. The weather smiled upon us, and we were greeted with a rain-free day and agreeable temps.
We hiked out to the work location, and had a brief discussion on what 'invasive' means and which plants and trees are threatened by the English ivy growing in this park, and many others in our country. We spied some lovely native trilliums in bloom (which are often snuffed out by ivy). The kids' pent-up spring break energy was well harnessed in pulling ivy. The ground was soft, and the vines came out easily. Many a kid claimed that she had found the longest vine in the world, a record which was broken many times that morning (although no one did end up calling the Guiness Book of World Records). They also found joy in how high the piles of ivy grew next to the trees where we placed them.
Like the best service club activities, the kids got to work and didn't need a whole lot of supervision, allowing the moms ample opportunities to chat and catch up (much needed after our week-long spring break). I got a kick out of overhearing a few kids say that they really liked pulling ivy since it seemed like a grown-up thing to do. Yet, when it was suggested we put on a fashion show integrating the hot spring look of ivy vines, the kids were all game: ivy crowns, bracelets, capes and scarves! Alas, I'd let my 5 year old start taking the pictures at that point, and the fashion show is recorded as a digital blur. Sigh.
After hiking back out of the park, our ivy pull leaders thanked us for our help and we ended the day as only a group of soccer-playing young'uns would think to do. With a cheer:
Two, four, six, eight!The trilliums say 'amen' to that!
Who do we appreciate?
Portlanders! Tryon Creek Park will host its annual Trillium Festival on April 10-11.