National Trails Day in Pease Park

Guest blog post by Frank Walsh

Being beautiful doesn’t mean you don’t need a trim every once in a while. That was the case for Pease Park during National Trails Day on June 1st.

The National Trails Day project was supervised by volunteer crew leaders from the Texas Conservation Corps, a program of American Youth Works that empowers young people through service, conservation, education, and job training. The more than 45 volunteers targeted invasive species - most notably chinaberry, ligustrum and ragweed - working on the west side of Shoal Creek just south of the Janet Fish Pedestrian Bridge. Removal and control of invasive species is necessary in order to ensure that the desired native trees and vegetation can thrive in the Park. Proper methods of removing invasive species are also required to prevent erosion of soils along the creek and the trail.

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Ten crew leaders from TXCC helped to train and supervise five volunteer teams totaling almost 50 volunteers. Some volunteers used clippers and saws to cut down chinaberry and ligustrums, while others performed an old-fashioned “ragweed stomp” to flatten the ragweed plants and leave them to decompose in place on site. Still other volunteer teams wrapped their arms around bundles of chinaberry and ligustrum and carried them back up the trail to waiting trailers for removal.

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We are extremely grateful to all the volunteers who participated, including the crew leader teams from the Texas Conservation Corps and the folks from the Downtown Austin Community Court who provided labor and trailers to haul away the refuse.

While it was hard work on a hot day, one volunteer summarized the group’s feelings:

“I’ve met people I didn’t know before and it’s great to share the same goal of working with nature and for helping to maintain Pease Park.”

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Pease Park Conservancy celebrates the diverse ecology and history that make Austin’s first public park valuable and unique. The Conservancy works to restore, enhance and maintain this 84-acre public green space for the sustainable use and enjoyment of all.