Volunteers clean and green Northwest Philly woods

Volunteers took to the woods and streams of Northwest Philly yesterday to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Day of Service by cleaning and greening. 

The Friends of Carpenter’s Woods and neighbors spread throughout Carpenter’s Woods to remove vines and other invasive species. They were especially focused on removing English ivy from oak trees, which are being choked off by the vines. 

“I’ve lived here over 20 years, and I’ve watched the ones on my block just kind of fall off,” said Lis Bass, a neighbor and member of The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Tree Tenders program. 

Friends group member John Goschke said removing vines and invasive species is an ongoing struggle, but one of importance since the oak trees provide an important habitat for animals, insects and the migratory birds that earned the park Important Bird Area designation from the National Audubon Society. 

“Whatever we can do to preserve the health of the trees is a good thing,” Goschke said. 

Down the street, Friends of the Wissahickon led nearly 40 volunteers in an effort to clean the area around the creek from Historic Rittenhouse Town to Ridge Avenue. They pulled everything from car bumpers to plastic, beer cans, empty alcohol bottles and long johns. 

For Joanna Rotte, a Center City resident who hikes in Wissahickon Valley Park frequently, the day was an opportunity for her to give back to the park. For others, like Suzie Anderson, the event was an opportunity to volunteer in the park for the first time. 

On the other side of the woods, in Manayunk, volunteers from St. Joe’s University, Schuylkill River Project, Umbria Neighbors and Ivy Ridge Green cleared trash and debris from the Fountain Street Steps that lead to the canal. They pulled a substantial amount of vines from the side of the canal and worked up the street to clean Germany Hill. 

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