Come out and help Richmond Hill Park

Dates and Times for the next workday in the Park.     Come out and help your favorite forest in Asheville!!!

11/8/2014 (Sat. 9:00AM – 1:00PM) Invasive Species Event-Tools and gloves provided but bring water and snacks 

12/13/2014 (Sat. 9:00AM – 1:00PM) Invasive Species Event-Tools and gloves provided but bring water and snacks 

Sign up here today  http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0d4da4af23a5fa7-richmond

Help Asheville’s Only Urban Forest – Richmond Hill Park-October 11

(From WNCA)
The Western North Carolina Alliance needs volunteers to participate in invasive exotic plant management/control outings from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday October 11th and on the second Saturday of every month, in Richmond Hill Park (280 Richmond Hill Drive).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGeranium

[Rosebay Rhodendron (Rhododendron maximum) a native flowering shrub blooms along the trails in the park (above left). Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) is a frequent native wildflower that has benefited from the removal of invasive-exotic plants that crowded it out (above right)]

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Invasive exotic plants were introduced in earlier decades, both deliberately and accidentally, and have escaped into areas of our public lands. Invasive exotic plants out-compete native plants for space, sunlight, water, and nutrients, often causing a decline in biodiversity.

Invasive exotic plants can also take over and destroy native food sources, leaving wildlife with food that provides little to no nutritional value for their needs.
[Over the last 3 years this important work has substantially improved the habitat for birds and native wildflowers in the park, while improving the quality and accessibility of the trails throughout the park.]
Bob Gale, Ecologist and Public Lands Director, will give instruction on how to identify invasive exotic plants of concern in the park, as well as how to use manual and chemical control methods.

Then we’ll put these skills to work treating invasive plant species found along the trail. We’ll provide gloves and equipment needed for the event. Volunteers are asked to bring lunch and water. Long pants, a long sleeve shirt, and old shoes or hiking boots (no open shoes or sandals) are required, even if the day is warm.

More information about Richmond Hill Park can be found at www.richmondhillpark.wordpress.com or by contacting James Wood at Richmondhillforest at gmail.com

If you want to join us, please sign up through SignUp Genius here. For questions, please contact WNCA  Volunteer Coordinator Cynthia Camilleri by emailing cynthia at wnca.org, or by calling (eight-two-eight) two-five-eight  –  eight-seven-three-seven, ext. 207.
Don’t forget to follow Friends of Richmond Hill Park by clicking on the follow tab at the top of the page.

Invasive plant removal event Saturday May 10th in the Park

Don’t miss you chance to help Richmond Hill Park!

Invasive plant removal event Saturday May 10th.

Western North Carolina Alliance has a volunteer work day coming up this Saturday May 10th at Richmond Hill Park.  Our volunteer leader will be Lauren Reker who has a tremendous amount of field experience with invasives.  Our sign up is below.

 

http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0D4DA4AF23A5FA7-richmond

 

 

Cancled due to the weather! December 14th: Volunteers sought for invasive plant control outing at Richmond Hill Park

The workday at Richmond Hill has been canceled due to the weather. Current predictions are  for a high temperature in the very low 40 and rain. As such there will be no workday. I’m sorry of any disappointment of inconvenience.

Cheers

~James

 

Update: 12/10/13 – From WNCA

Hey Volunteers!

Thanks for signing up to help this Saturday at Richmond Hill Park. Everything you need to know about the day is in the link below.  Today is only Tuesday but we have an almost capacity number signed up to help. We are watching the weather and it’s too soon to know what Saturday will bring. Should the weather be too unfriendly for a productive day we will reschedule and notify you by email on Friday afternoon. Check your emails before you head out on Saturday if the weather looks questionable.

For those who have never been on one of these events, it’s important for you to be there at 10 for instruction. Those who have been trained can come at 10:30 ready to jump in. Bring water to drink or a hot  beverage of your choice and  a lunch or snacks. We will have some granola bars on hand for fortification.

Saturday’s leader will be Rose Butler who has been trained by Bob Gale and is certified by the state to use and teach the use of herbicides needed in this work. Rose is an experienced leader and a very valuable volunteer with WNCA. Bob, Rose and I have been working on developing a calendar for invasive events in 2014 both for Richmond Hill Park and other locations near Asheville. As we recruit and train more volunteers we want to encourage teams to break off and take on invasive work in other locations.

I can tell by all the names on the list that this is going to be a really good group of folks on Saturday!

Cynthia

Cynthia White Camilleri, Volunteer Coordinator

Western North Carolina Alliance

December 2nd, 2013

by WNCAADMIN

The Western North Carolina Alliance needs volunteers to participate in an invasive exotic plant management/control outing from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14 in Richmond Hill Park (280 Richmond Hill Drive).

These plants were introduced in earlier decades, both deliberately and accidentally, and have escaped into areas of our public lands. Invasive exotic plants out-compete native plants for space, sunlight, water, and nutrients, often causing a decline in biodiversity.

They can also take over and destroy native food sources, leaving wildlife with food that provides little to no nutritional value for their needs.

Our happy and hungry work crew.

Our happy and hungry work crew.

Staff will give instruction on how to identify invasive exotic plants of concern in the park, as well as how to use manual and chemical control methods.

Then we’ll put these skills to work treating invasive plant species found along the trail. We’ll provide gloves and equipment needed for the event. Volunteers are asked to bring lunch and water. Long pants, a long sleeve shirt, and old shoes or hiking boots (no open shoes or sandals) are required, even if the day is warm.

More information about Richmond Hill Park can be found at www.richmondhillpark.wordpress.com or by contacting James Wood at Richmondhillforest@gmail.com

If you want to join us, please RSVP to WNCA Volunteer Coordinator Cynthia Camilleri by emailingCynthia@WNCA.org, or by calling (828) 258-8737, ext. 207.

October 26 workday another success

With the help of volunteers from Warren Wilson College the October 26 workday was a success. Volunteers removed privet and multiflora rose, both invasive species from along the trail. Volunteers worked in the same area where others have worked and the results are obvious. The forest floor is opening up and making more room for native wildflowers. The trail is now more open which benefits all trail uses. Mark you calendar for December 14, as another workday is in the works.

Why is it important to volunteer in the park? Here’s why:

1. It’s a loads of fun and you learn something at the same time.

2. Without volunteers this unique park would be overrun with weeds that would inhibit access to the trails.

3. Removing these weeds makes the park more beautiful by allowing the native flowers to come back.

4. As someone who enjoy the park, it’s close access to downtown, it beautiful trails, the birds and wildlife, spending few hours of work helps me appreciate the park.

Don’t forget to follow Friends of Richmond Hill Park by clicking on the follow tab.

Prepare for changes at Richmond Hill

Richmond Hill Park is rapidly becoming one of Asheville premier parks, but park users and residents of Richmond Hill should brace themselves for change. 1,530 housing units could be built right next to Richmond Hill Park at the end of Richmond Hill Drive. The approximately 90 acres  of forest is for sale and zoned by the town of Woodfin as Urban village, allowing 17 units per acre and a mix of residential and retail space. IF this property is developed in this way, it would create serious traffic and safety issues for Richmond Hill residents as well as inflict a big blow to the ecology of Richmond Hill Park.

90 acres of forest for sale next to Richmond Hill Park

90 acres of forest for sale next to Richmond Hill Park

About 5 acres of the land that is for sale use to be part of Richmond Hill Park, but was traded to a private party in order to gain access to Richmond Hill Park at the end of Richmond Hill Drive during construction of the disc golf course and armory . This property contains high quality forest in the park, abundant wild flowers and drains into the wetlands at the north end of the park.

In a North Carolina Natural Heritage Report of the park, this property was described like this “Bluff forests on private land in the northeastern portion of the site appear to be in excellent condition with quite mature forest and almost no sign of invasives.” and “adjacent private lands east of the park should be targeted for conservation easements, as this area appears to be the portion of the site in the best condition.”  This land needs to be part of Richmond Hill Park!

Much of the shaded area on the right is the property that is currently for sale. This forest should be protect and made part of Richmond Hill Park!

Much of the shaded area on the right (coded as Montane Oak Hickey Forest, Cove Forest and Floodplain Pool) is the property that is currently for sale. This forest should be protect and made part of Richmond Hill Park! Imagine a 250+ acre forested park so close to downtown Asheville!

Part of the current disc golf course is also right along the property line and would likely be affected when the property is developed.

Whether you live in the Richmond Hill neighborhood, are a disc golf fan or use the park for other types of recreation, your voice is needed. Tell the Buncombe County, City of Asheville, the Town of Woodfin that you want this property protected and incorporated into Richmond Hill Park. If this property is incorporated into Richmond Hill Park, it would make the park over 250 acres.

Think about what a 250+ acre forest park so close to downtown could mean for Asheville and Woodfin in 50 years. Please take a moment write a letter to editor about why it is important to you to protect this forest and expand Richmond Hill Park.

The wetland on the Peterson Property that is for sale. This property contains 90+ acres of forest, great bird and wildlife habitat, wetlands and salamanders, including the rare zigzag salamander.

The wetland on the Peterson Property that is for sale. This property contains 90+ acres of forest, great bird and wildlife habitat, wetlands and salamanders, including the rare zigzag salamander.

This is an issues that needs your voice, needs your action and needs you to take a moment to let it be known that you want this forested land to become part of Richmond Hill Park!

A partnership between Buncombe County, City of Asheville, Town of Woodfin and conservation organizations could protect this forest in perpetuity. – Please spread the word!

People to Contact:

Asheville Parks and Rec. Department

Roderick Simmons, Parks Director – rsimmons@ashevillenc.gov

Al Kopf – Superintendent – akopf@ashevillenc.gov

Woodfin  – jasonyoung@woodfin-nc.gov

Buncombe County Park Department

Fran Thigpen – Director – fran.thigpen@buncombecounty.org

Don’t forget to follow us by clicking the follow tab at the bottom of the page.

The Big Picture: why remove Chinese Privet from forests and your yard.

Increasingly, nonnative plants and animals are invading places we love, like forests, wetlands, and even our yards. These nonnative or exotic invaders can change many big picture ecosystem processes that we rarely think about. Ecosystem processes are important aspects of how ecosystems work. An example of these processes is the cycling nutrients like nitrogen or phosphorus. These nutrients flow from the soil to plants, then to animals and then back to the soil. The composition of plants in a forest influence how quickly these processes work, which in turn influences how the community of plants and animals change and evolve through time.

Changes in plant communities that accompany exotic plant invasions can ripple through ecosystems, altering animal habitat and affecting nearby streams and wetlands. Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) is a very common invasive exotic plant that invades many forests and wetlands. Research on the effect of privet in forests shows that as the amount of privet in forests increases, the speed of forest floor decomposition also increases. This means that as the leaves fall to the forest floor, the leaves are more rapidly eaten by bacteria, worms, insects and other critters in the soil. Ultimately, this means the nutrients from the leaves are more rapidly released back into the soil, and are able to be taken back up by plant roots.

Privet leaves are generally higher in nitrogen than are native species and nitrogen is an important nutrient. Privet takes up nitrogen and other nutrients very quickly, grows very fast, and produces lots of berries and seeds. Also, privet leaves are low in strong carbon compounds like cellulose and lignin, contributing to a quicker breakdown. Collectively, this means that as privet invades a forest (or yard), ecosystem processes like nutrient cycling speed up, enabling privet to rapidly expand and dominate over other species. This is not good for native wild flowers, birds, insects, and other species that live in our treasured forests and yards.

But there is still hope for these places we love. Large areas are being managed for the removal of privet, usually with volunteers from local citizen groups. Groups like Weed Warriors of Athens, Georgia and Western North Carolina Alliance (WNCA) are actively removing privet in forests, along roadways and in city parks. You can help protect parks and forests buy removing plants like privet from your yard and replacing them with native plants. The southeast has many beautiful native plants such as American Holly (Ilex opaca) and Cinnamon Clethra (Clethra acuminata) that are great additions to your and benefit wildlife. Think about letting your local nursery or plant retailer know that you support native plants over invasive exotic alternatives, and that the protection of native forests (and your yard) is an issue that is important to you.

References:

J.D. Mitchel, G. Lockaby and E. F. Brantly. 2011. Influence of Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense) on Decomposition and Nutrient Availability in Riparian Forests. Invasive Plant Science and Management. 4:437-447.

J. Wilcox and C. W. Banks. 2007. The effects of Ligustrum sinense Lour. (Chinese Privet) on Abundance and Diversity of Songbirds and Native Plants in a Southeastern Nature Preserve. 6:535-550.