PORTLAND, Ore. — In this week's Let's Get Out There, we head to Marquam Nature Park in Southwest Portland with Portland Parks & Recreation. Volunteers are needed to take out pesky ivy across the city during "No Ivy Day."
On the quiet Marquam Trail, Mary Verrilli is on the hunt.
“I’m an animal and bird lover,” said Verrilli, a stewardship coordinator with Portland Parks & Recreation.
But it’s not wildlife she’s after, Verrilli is looking for an invasive species. Hiding in plain sight, along the trail and in the trees, non-native ivy.
“It can grow pretty quickly, and that's why it's so successful,” Verrilli said. “I mean, these are sites we continually come to month after month or throughout the year and you know, continue to visit so we don't just pick a site in the middle of nowhere. There's usually a reason behind it. And there's goals that we're working towards.”
If the ivy grows too tall and climbs the trees, it blocks the sunlight to the canopy. If it spreads on the ground, it chokes out the plant life on the forest floor. This time of year, it begins to flower and can spread. It’s a constant mission and Verrilli relishes the chance to educate others.
On most Saturdays, Portland Parks & Recreation hold volunteer events across the city to help maintain out outdoor spaces.
On Saturday, October 29, parks and recreation’s playfully-named “No Ivy League” is holding a “No Ivy Day” to beat back the invasive plant in at least 12 locations across the city.
“As the ivy grows, it gets thicker, it gets more mature to the size of your arm or even leg sized, and it just it one adds a lot of weight to the trees,” said Verrilli. One of her teaching tools is called “The Beast,” a giant piece of ivy removed from a park years ago. The piece itself grew so large, it looks like a tree branch.
Since 2011, volunteers have ripped out almost 250,000 square feet of ivy from Portland’s parks and natural areas. To volunteer, you don’t need to be an expert, just come ready to show the ivy who’s the real beast.
“A lot of it is because volunteers and dedicated stewards to our parks and natural areas,” said Verrilli. “We have a lot of friends’ groups and partner groups that help advocate for these parks and help bring in volunteers and so we can't do it without you.”
To find more information on "No Ivy Day," visit: www.portland.gov/parks/nas/events/2022/10/29/no-ivy-day-2022
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