By: Bhavisha Dave
On Wednesday, Sept. 24, the Glen Arboretum hosted a volunteer day in which staff and student volunteers worked to remove invasive plants species that harm the ecosystem.
The three main species that plague the Glen are English ivy, wild grape vine, and multiflora rose.
According to student organizer Steve King, the volunteer project started around two years ago and the main focus of last year was to get the English Ivy out of the trees.
English ivy, scientifically known as Hedera Helix, can also destroy the environment for the native species because it takes over large sections and makes it difficult for other plants to grow, according to the National Park Foundation. English ivy also blocks out sunlight on the trees it grows on, obstructing photosynthesis. This is usually not a problem in its natural environment; however, the places where the ivy has been recently introduced are not used to its ferocity.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Park Service, the multiflora rose grows aggressively in thick bushes, which invade open fields and pastures, hindering the growth of native plants. In turn, this proves to be harmful to the nesting of native birds.
While wild grape vine is a source of food for many small mammals and some birds, it also grows around trees which blocks out sunlight and eventually begins to kill the tree, according to the Pennsylvania State University Extension.
The Glen Arboretum tries to host four to five volunteer days a semester. Students are able to use this as their required volunteer hours for student organizations or sports clubs.