We’re not all lucky enough to live near a wilderness area, but preserving small places can be significant too. Every yard or parkland provides a stepping stone for wildlife to move between larger areas as well as adding to the overall total.
Many local governments offer support to individuals and groups wishing to adopt a local area. Even if no such program exists, few will object to an offer to pull weeds and clean up trash. It is essential, however, to make contact before undertaking any projects…particularly if the land you’re attempting to preserve is privately owned.
Large or small…all restoration projects are welcome to join NANPS list of activities. Individuals can accomplish a great deal…but can do so much more with a little help.
Exotic species have been around for hundreds of years. Sometimes termed “naturalized” flora, these plants at the very least take up space that could be occupied by more useful species…and at worst actually secrete phtyochemcials that discourage other plants from growing. Removing the most aggressive of these invaders is usually the first priority in restoring an area…especially before they set seed. Generally it is best to work from an edge, removing weeds thoroughly section by section. Be careful to avoid tracking seeds from weedy areas into more pristine areas. Inexperienced volunteers should be introduced to only one or two weed species at a time to minimize the risk of accidentally removing native species.
Work with the area! Start by taking an inventory of the species that already exist. Adding plants should be approached with caution. Source plants as locally as possible…preferably those grown from seeds collected within the area undergoing restoration. When dealing with rare species, check with Provincial or State agencies to align your efforts with existing species recovery plans. Keep accurate records of everything you plant, including sources and GPS coordinates where appropriate. Consult your local native plant society for advice specific to your region.
These areas are in need of your help. If you can spare an hour or two, please join other volunteers at a site near you. NANPS does not vette sites or organized efforts listed on this site. It is your responsibility to ensure that any necessary approvals have been obtained and that work is carried out in a safe and responsible manner. In many cases, you must bring your own tools and yard waste bags, so be sure to bring the basics on your first trip or make inquiries in advance.
To add your project to the following list, contact email@example.com
High Park embraces a rare remnant of Black Oak savanna in the heart of west Toronto. Incorporating a range of public areas, a small zoo, and formal gardens; High Park also finds space for a large and growing natural area. The Volunteer Stewardship Committee of High Park is dedicated to conserving the rare native species found here. Volunteers are engaged in everything from seed collection and plant propagation to weed eradication. The Committee meets every Sunday with a variety of fun, interesting, and important activities scheduled year round.
Meet on Sundays 10:30 am – 1 pm in front of the Grenadier cafe. Bring your own water & wear a hat, long sleeves and long pants and other dress appropriate for the weather. Check the link above for specific tasks to be conducted each week. This is an ongoing restoration project with activities every weekend througout the spring, aummer and fall.
Charlie Clifford Memorial Park. A secluded ravine park adopted under the guidance of past NANPS Director, Greg Hagan. The park is filled with an array of native species and, unfortunately, a number of invasive species.
For more info email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2009, NANPS adopted a small wooded park in Markham, Ontario. Part of a ravine, the slope and tableland were becoming over-run with exotic invasive species: garlic mustard, english ivy, periwinkle and goutweed. Underneath the weeds, however, an array of native species needed help.
Led by NANPS Director, Greg Hagan, volunteers began meeting weekly during the 2009 growing season to remove the invasives — initially targeting garlic mustard before it could release more seed. The Town of Markham, Ontario assisted too…dropping off a load of wood chips to help smother weeds in areas where no native flora survived and offering an annual stipend to defray expenses.
There is a long road yet to travel to restore Charlie Clifford Park, but with a little help from our friends, there is hope. If you’re near Markham, Ontario please visit the Restorations Area calendar to see when the next activity is scheduled.
Join the Town of Markham for Community Action for Biodiversity!
Take part in a garlic mustard pull followed by planting native wildlflowers. Please dress for the weather and bring your own gloves, hoes, trowels and weed pullers. Other supplies and snacks provided.
For more information and to confirm your attendance please email: email@example.com
Join the Richmond Hill Naturalists in cleaning up German Mills Creek. The group will be meeting at the north end of the parking lot near the heritage home in the strip mall on the EAST side of Bayview Avenue, north of High Tech Road. Gloves and garbage bags will be provided for scheduled activities. Please dress according to the weather, wear long pants and if possible, rubber boots. Drinking water, hats, sunscreen and bug repellent recommended. Contact Joe Agg for more information. A great way to earn volunteer hours!
NANPS first conservation property, Shining Tree woods is beginning to suffer from invasions of garlic mustard. Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org to offer your services in protecting this critical habitat.
Behind the Ontario Science Centre (Eglinton Avenue at Don Mills Road) a small lake/wetland area was created for flood control purposes following Hurricane Hazel. Scout troops planted a pine forest and the area continued to naturalize over th past several decades…but dog strangling vine, garlic mustard and buckthorn have moved in. Volunteer Restoration Coordinator, Doug Wilson, is spearheading efforts to control the invasive plants and add more native species to the forest understorey. If you’d like to help, please contact Doug at 416 759-3771 or by cell meeting days only: 416-779-0418.
The entrance is marked by a big sign “1132 Leslie Wilket Creek and Sunnybrook Parks” and is located on the west side of Leslie about 100 yards north of Eglinton. The entrance road goes immediately down a hill, take the left fork near the bottom, which goes south and east. After passing some park recreational areas you go under a low underpass (Eglinton) and continue quite a way, as far as possible, on that road, to arrive at a large, long, free parking lot. The meeting spot is at the far end near two old bridges, off their footings, stored nearby on the parking lot. If you come to a brick building with washrooms you have taken the wrong fork.
Eglinton 34/34C eastbound has a stop at Leslie, and just beside the shelter there are long stairs going down directly to the meeting spot at the bottom.
There is a main paved bike path which goes through the meeting spot. It is accessible from bike route 26 (Broadway), bike route 45 which runs up the Don Valley, from the path south from Edwards Gardens, from the Taylor Creek path, and from the west extension of Gateway beyond Don Mills Road, which goes down a steep hill (just south of the Science Centre south parking lot).
Woodland northwest of Boston, MA. This property, adjacent to a City reservoir, is protected by the local government. Unauthorized access is prohibited, however dirt bikers have been seen riding and spreading weed seeds through the forest. While still hosting a diverse range of native species, the site is beginning to be over-run by invasive species. A local resident has begun pulling the more obvious weeds: garlic mustard and dog strangling vine, but needs help to identify and eradicate more pernicious species invaders.
Meet Sundays 1 pm May-September in the woods off Sylvan Avenue. Wakefield MA
The Salt Marsh Alliance is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2002. It provides a way for volunteers to help maintain the Salt Marsh Nature Centre in partnership with NYC’s Parks and Recreation Department and the Urban Park Rangers. The Marsh has 530 acres of grasslands and precious salt marsh and is protected as a Forever Wild Preserve.
Volunteers are crucial to the Nature Center’s operation. There are jobs for every skill level, and as long as you’re over 18, you don’t need any special qualifications beyond a desire to help. For example, you can get close to nature by helping to plant cordgrass and clear weeds, or you could simply man the reception desk and welcome visitors to the building. Volunteers also lead activities at the SMNC, including the popular Tai-Chi program, kids’ storytime, and nature walks. If you have an idea for an activity, the SMNC staff would love to hear it.
Contact The Nature Center Coordinator at 718-421-2021 to learn more about volunteer opportunities.
Help to remove invasive species such as Lonicera japinoca (Japanese honeysuckle), survey the forest, remove Viburnum Leaf Beetle egg casings or volunteer to help out in any of the numerous community gardens around the Bronx. Visit www.nybg.org for more details.