Volunteers needed for Nob Hill Nature Park work party
Nob Hill Nature Park, a scenic 7-acre oak woodland overlooking the Columbia River, will be holding a volunteer work party Saturday, Nov. 6, from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The morning session will tackle planting in the wetland area near the boardwalk, while the afternoon session focuses on pulling ground ivy and replanting near the lower foot bridge.
The Scappoose Bay Watershed Council and the Friends of Nob Hill Nature Park are inviting the public to take part in the event, which is traditionally held twice a year.
Emily Martin, restoration project manager for the watershed council, handles the morning session.
"The morning session is concentrating on the trail that connects between the older section of Nob Hill Nature Park to the Fifth Street Trail," Martin said. "It's part of the grant project that we have going with Nob Hill Nature Park."
The grant, in the amount of approximately $13,000, came from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board small grant program and provides funding to control invasive species, such as Himalayan blackberry and English ivy. It also gives funding to plant native vegetation.
Martin said the grant money specifically benefits the Fifth Street Trail connection.
"The volunteers will be planting plants in the wetlands area of the project site," she said. "They will also be removing English ivy from the top of the trail."
Caroline Skinner with Friends of Nob Hill Nature Park takes care of the later portion of the work party.
"The afternoon session, which Howard Blumenthal and I are leading, involves hand-pulling 'ground ivy' — that's English ivy that's actually growing on the ground," Skinner explained. "After we've cleared out a good quantity, hopefully, we will then be putting in some native plants to fill the vacuum."
Skinner said it has been a struggle to contain non-native weeds.
"Throughout the park, we've battled blackberry and English ivy," Skinner said. "Those are two very pervasive, non-native weeds. We stumbled upon a large, established patch of ivy that is substantially hidden from view, kind of hiding in plain sight right near the park entrance."
Skinner continued, "There is also a small footbridge, and just behind that footbridge, there's just a little dip, maybe it's behind a slight rise, and it turns out there's a lot of ivy lurking in there. We noticed it because we saw it starting to go up the trees."
Skinner says restoration involves both taking out invasive plants and putting in more desirable native plants.
Among the native plants are snowberries, thimbleberries and roses.
Skinner says snowberries are not a favorite with birds, but the berries often persist late into the winter, giving hungry birds a food option.
The Friends of Nob Hill Nature Park have been doing restoration work there since 2004.
These annual work parties are also a way to connect with the community.
"The best thing about these work parties is that we're not only enabling the communities to connect with one another, but we're building a relationship between the lands and the people who live in St. Helens," Martin said. "It's really going to provide a lot of good relationships to help provide stewardship in the future."
Because of November's unpredictable and chilly weather, volunteers are asked to dress accordingly. You can bring gloves, tools, water and snack items. Masks and social distancing will be required.
Rain or shine, volunteers will meet outside the city's wastewater treatment plant at 451 Plymouth St. in St. Helens.
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