Three cheers for our fabulous volunteers! Despite challenges imposed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and a surprise 7-inch October snowfall (no one ever accused Minnesota of having boring weather), 52 volunteers signed up to rake leaves and remove buckthorn in local parks.
This fall’s clean-up looked a little different as volunteers came over the course of two weekends to give volunteers more flexibility and reduce the number of people gathered at one time. We are so grateful for all the enthusiastic volunteers who took this new format in stride and helped make it a success!
Neighbors, local Scout packs and community members all pitched in to remove 1.2 tons of buckthorn around Jeffers Pond. Volunteers also turned out to rake leaves at Sand Point Beach Park. Future events hope to further tackle buckthorn at Jeffers to protect the high-quality maple basswood forest around Jeffers Pond.
Buckthorn (photo at left) is an invasive shrub originally from Europe which can take over a forest’s understory, crowding out native species and degrading habitat for wildlife.
Leaves, grass clippings and other organic matter affect water quality when they wash down street gutters into the storm drains which end up in our lakes. Urban development causes excess amounts of these natural materials to be released into lakes, where they break down and release phosphorus which feeds algae. Algae blooms can be a serious threat to water quality, aquatic life, property values and water recreation.
Have buckthorn in your yard? In late fall buckthorn is easy to spot as it is one of the few things still green in forests and around wetland edges. So if you have buckthorn in your yard, now is a great time to remove it! For help identifying buckthorn and directions on how to remove it, check out this great factsheet.
As always, this clean-up event was co-hosted with the City of Prior Lake.