The goals of our efforts in the woods of Evergreen Park are to restore the biodiversity and native ecology of the woods, and provide the surrounding community a safe environment for nature exploration and non-competitive physical activity.
In 2010, Resources for Health Roots & Shoots adopted Evergreen Park, a community space with play structures, open fields, and a small wooded trail system, for Arbor Day. Our first project as “park adopters” was planting flowers to beautify the park’s entrance, and for the next three years, we carried out a variety of park enhancement projects, including litter cleanup, light park maintenance, filling roles in community events, and the occasional blackberry removal. Although these early projects weren’t directly focused on the woods, we admired it as a gateway to the past, what the landscape must have looked like before the parking lots and high-density housing that now surround it.
In 2013, our group agreed that the area of the park in the direst need of our help was that wooded area, as it was least utilized, and in turn, least maintained segment of the park. That month we shifted our efforts to be more focused and consistent in the woods. We also began to extend the participation of the events from our group to community members. During these events, we removed immense amounts of the invasive blackberry, redefined the entire trail system, removed litter, and re-vegetated the woods with native plants. As a result, many native plants independently regrew in place of the blackberry we removed, our re-vegetation efforts took root and helped shade out the blackberry, and the trails stand out from the surrounding foliage and debris!
As of today, these projects continue in the woods of Evergreen Park. To learn more or get involved with our efforts at Evergreen Park, visit www.resourcesforhealth.org or email us at Info@Resourcesforhealth.org!