Honeysuckle to get heave-ho

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick

Organizers of an Earth Day clean-up project check out the area where volunteers will remove bush honeysuckle from the Roberts Pass bike path on April 19.

An English playwright once wrote, "Many hands make light work." Organizers of an Earth Day clean-up of London’s bike path hope to put the idea into action on April 19.

Fifty to 100 volunteers are needed that day to clear bush honeysuckle, an invasive plant, from a one-mile portion of the Roberts Pass trail. The work area lies near the old tile mill and is accessible from Maple Street near Center Street.

At a planning meeting on March 24, foremen were named for different facets of the workload.

Gene Pass and Rodger Lynch of the Friends of Madison County Parks & Trails, the organization that made the trail possible, will head up one of the cutting teams. Eric Imerman with the OSU Extension Office and Susan Stanford with the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District will lead a second cutting team.

Chainsaws, loppers and handsaws will be used to cut down the honeysuckle, which is choking out food-bearing trees along the trail. Volunteers also will be needed to drag the cuttings to chippers manned by the City of London Street Department and Dave Jackman of Dave’s Property Maintenance.

As the honeysuckle comes out, new tree seedlings will go in. The Master Gardeners of Madison County will oversee the planting process. Imerman, who is coordinating the clean-up, has ordered 350 seedlings in 14 different varieties. Each will be 12 to 18 inches tall.

Ryan Ladd, director of London’s Parks and Recreation Department, will oversee provision of food and water to volunteers.

Imerman said two groups have already committed to helping with the project. Bill Dennis, head coach of the London High School football team, and some of his players will help with the cutting. London resident Angie Williams will be there with nine to 15 of the fifth-graders she teaches in Clark County. The youngsters likely will carry tree seedlings to holes, backfill the holes, and wrap the seedling trunks.

T-shirts will go to the first 100 volunteers. Anyone is welcome as long as they’re willing to get dirty.

"If that many people show up and we have a team of foremen, we’ll get an awful lot done even though it’s only six hours," said Jackman.

In addition to volunteers, organizers still need shovels, tree bars, picks, and resources for food. They also are looking into the availability of additional parking other than on Maple Street.

The clean-up will take place rain or shine.

For more information, call Eric Imerman at 740-852-0975 or Susan Stanford at 852-4004.

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