By London Bishop – firstname.lastname@example.org
FAIRBORN — Saws, loppers, chainsaws, and weed killer: these are just some of the tools the BW Greenway is using to keep honeysuckle out of the green spaces in Fairborn parks and trails. BW Greenway will tackle the invasive plants at Community Park Reserve from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21.
Volunteers will gather at the entrance to Community Park across from 1520 Meadowlands Drive. Organizers plan to divide volunteers into teams to chop down the woody bushes. Honeysuckle trunks range in diameter from an inch or two to nearly a foot. The stump is then sprayed locally with weed killer, without damaging the surrounding plants. The brush is then loaded onto trucks and removed from the site.
Ripping up honeysuckle is a difficult but necessary endeavor. Honeysuckle is an invasive plant that has become a problem in many of Ohio’s natural spaces, as its persistent presence blocks sunlight from native wildflowers that grow beneath it. Honeysuckle is notoriously difficult to get rid of, partially because birds, squirrels, and other animals will eat the bright red berries and deposit their seeds in their droppings.
“It’s not good enough to get rid of it one time,” organizer Bob Jurick said. “But if you keep on top of it, eventually native plants and flowers will come back.”
In 2010, BW Greenway held a honeysuckle removal event to honor the passing of Dr. Michael Horton. Horton, a veterinarian and Air Force veteran, was incredibly active in the community and a dedicated volunteer with Fairborn Parks and Recreation, according to his obituary. The event drew 180 volunteers, and by Jurick’s estimation is one of the largest such events in the state.
“We don’t want his legacy to die,” Jurick said.
Community Park Reserve is a 35-acre property off of Meadowlands Drive, acquired by BW Greenway in 2006 through the Clean Ohio Grant. The Clean Ohio Grant, originally passed as a bond issue in the year 2000, allocated $400 million for open space conservation, farmland preservation, trail creation, brownfield restoration, and protection of ecologically sensitive areas.
BW Greenway administers to 20 properties spanning about 15-20 miles, connecting the Beaver Creek Wetlands and the Wenrick Wetlands in Clark County. In addition to removing invasive plants, the organization also performs site development and land management for the properties. BW Greenway recently completed the trail loop at the nature reserve on the corner of Garland Avenue and Commerce Center Boulevard, which includes a boardwalk and observation deck.