Over the years, concerns have emerged from various stakeholders regarding the state of the environment because of different pollutants that have been dumped on land across the world. Modern scholars have indicated the inability of future generations to survive in their immediate environment if the current land degradation tactics are not controlled. From this perspective, different government authorities should develop programs that sensitize the public on the significance of conserving the environment because of the numerous benefits that will accrue following their positive actions (Robinson, Newell, & Marzluff, 2005). In the same vein, the citizenry should contribute towards the protection of the environment by maintaining a certain level of cleanliness that reflects their way of life. By participating in tree planting exercises, among other benevolent activities, the modern generation should embrace the approaches that can be used to achieve the desired outcomes.
What I did: Removing Invasive Weed
On Saturday, 3rd August, I was part of an energetic and motivated group that visited the North Beacon Hill Greenbelt to restore the site through the elimination of invasive plants in the forest. Even though the focus of the visit to the site was to restore the environmental conservancy, the delegation also aimed at weeding the region to protect the native plants. Notably, a majority of the weeds that had infested the area deprived the native plants of certain key nutrients, which could affect their growth and development. Visibly, native plants have a significant impact on the environment because of their role in regulating certain soil responses such as pH levels among others.
Upon arriving at the site, we realized that the forest had been infested by the invasive buttercup plants, which the team leader had demonstrated how to uproot them without interfering with the native plants. For instance, we were told how to differentiate fingercup from other native plants by looking for its distinct heart-shaped leaves. Antje’s team comprised different individuals who were determined to improve the parklands and restore it to its original and natural form. I was proud to be part of Antje’s team because of the commitment they demonstrated and willingness to help team members whenever we encountered a difficult situation.
Figure 1 Antje Group (Source:LivingLearningandLettinggo)
Weeds such as blackberry vines, ivy, and the bindweed are invasive plants that interfere with the growth and development of plants in their habitat. Considering that native plants rely on the soil nutrients to achieve their full development, it is impossible to realize this growth with the presence of invasive plants in their surroundings. During our cleanup exercise, we encountered the English Ivy, which is notorious for its climbing vines that suffocate the trees by depriving its leaves access to sunlight and oxygen. Even though we were committed to uproot it completely, we did not uproot the entire English Ivy plantation because of its resilience to camouflage in the forest habitat. I was amazed by its unique adaptation characteristics that made it survive in the forest. We took numerous breaks to rest and catch up before picking up another forest plot to continue with the exercise.
Figure 2: Removing Invasive Weed (source:livinglearningandlettinggo)
If the forested parklands are not restored, they could be on the brink of extinction, which poses a wide range of problems to future generations (Bennett, 2016). However, if the native plants are protected from the invasive plants, they could achieve their full growth and even survive over the years, yielding numerous benefits to the subsequent generations. I was amazed by the amount of work we ended up doing after the end of the exercise. Although I had numerous concerns that bothered me such as use of wood chips as mulch, I did not use these grounds to frustrate other people. Instead, I went home and researched about its functions, where I learned that the wood chip mulch conserves the soil and prevents it from losing its nutrients. The speech by Karuna recognized each volunteer’s efforts, a move that encouraged me to participate in subsequent projects that focus on conserving the environment.
Figure 3 Greenbelt (Source:LivingLearningandLettinggo)
As volunteers, we were informed about the parklands’ rich history and how the native plants and trees have managed to survive over the years. Besides, the representatives in charge of the project provided tips that could be used to eradicate the weeds and invasive plants from suffocating the native plants. By promoting the exercise through a mantra, “many hands make light work,” the Green Seattle Partnership relied on our input to achieve their desired objectives. After being divided into teams, we approached different parts of the parklands, where we embarked on a mission to restore the forest into its past glory.
Why the Organization Needed this Work
Conserving the environment is a collective responsibility that should be undertaken by individuals in their capacity. In this regard, restoring the parklands offers people an opportunity to demonstrate their responsible actions in safeguarding the environment for future generations. Importantly, the Green Seattle Partnership hopes to restore the claimed 2500 acres by 2025, an ambition it hopes to settle through its close interactions with volunteers. In 2016, the Green Seattle Partnership commenced its activities in the forest following concerns over the amount of cover that had been occupied by invasive plants. Hence, the organization has demonstrated the need to protect the interests of future generations by restoring the forest.
Figure 4: Fig 2.0 A picture demonstrating the trash that was collected during the first clean-up exercise. (Source:livinglearningandlettinggo)
Apart from the invasive plants, the amount of non-degradable waste that has been deposited to the forest is immeasurable. In 2017, the Amrita Bala Kendra group organized a general clean-up at the forest, a move that highlighted the need to clear the forest off any materials that would risk the survival of the native plants and trees. From this encounter with the trash collected by children, volunteers have since amassed significant amounts of waste that has been dumped into the forest. In the spirit of covering and protecting the forest’s tree cover, the group through reforestation has introduced trees, which have contributed to the maintenance of the environment.
Ivy weeds and other invasive plants deprive trees and plants of the salient nutrients that contribute to their survival. In this regard, engaging volunteers has proved to be a worthwhile venture that has highlighted the benefits of cleaning the forest and securing it from any dangers that might affect its role in the community (Kaplan‐Hallam & Bennett, 2018). Planting occurs after the fall rains have commenced maximizing on the plant and tree growth. Following the continuous elimination of weeds and other invasive plants, the transformation in the forest has been remarkable, acting as a beacon of hope to non-believers in the modern world.
How the Work Contributes to the Safeguarding of the Environment
The activities of the Green Seattle Partnership and the Friends’ association has proved to be a noble cause because of its ability to promote awareness concerning environmental conservation. In this regard, volunteers who have taken part in tree planting and weed eradication exercises are now more conscious of their actions because of their experience at the parklands. In an exciting twist of events, the project encourages students to participate in the clean-up exercises, where they encounter a wide range of aspects that contribute to environmental degradation. Exposing children to these activities prepares them into responsible citizens who are aware of their surroundings.
Interacting with different individuals allows the organizations to receive different proposals from the public, which improve the outcomes of events during the exercises. Even though the organization focuses on specific objectives, the input from volunteers plays a significant role in improving the forest and creating an enabling environment where people can pursue their objectives. However, maintenance is the most difficult phase of the project because of the various natural and human-made factors that contribute towards the success of the organization’s mandate in the community.
Further measures such as putting wood-chip rings around the trees to protect any hindrance from the invasive plants have been introduced in the forest. Trees and native plants are responding positively to the approaches that aim at improving the possible outcomes in the parklands. Volunteering at the GreenFriends Greenbelt restoration site is a fulfilling exercise because of the ability to monitor change and align one’s interests with those of the community. Importantly, the society anticipates creating an enabling environment where individuals can pursue their objectives and discover numerous tactics that can be used to safeguard the environment.
By participating in tree planting exercises, among other benevolent activities, society should emulate the approaches that can be used to achieve the desired outcomes. In many instances, the government fails in its mandate to protect the environment and protect its people. In this regard, the institution, through its powerful authorities, should develop programs that encourage individuals to participate in conserving their immediate environment. By emphasizing on negligible aspects such as waste disposal, nations can improve their environmental state and overcome numerous issues that may affect subsequent generations. The GreenFriends Greenbelt restoration site is a visible community-led project that has numerous benefits on the people and future generations.