There are a number of old homesites within the park boundary. Except for a few sites which have been maintained for park personnel, the old homesites have been cleared to permit forest regeneration. We can still identify the sites, though, by the telltale non-native vegetation that has persisted over the years. One old site, near the Dance Forest Trail, has become degraded by the aggressive spread of exotic wisteria. This area has become the focus for the initial work sessions of IVSquad. The control technique being used here is to cut all stems, whether small or mature, shrubby or vining, just above ground level. Later on, during the growing season, all the resprouts will then be treated with herbicide. There are several acres of wisteria here, so the cutting will likely take all winter. There are plenty of work sessions available, and the work is not hard. Join us for some fresh air and pleasant exercise.
The Invasive Plants Volunteer Squad is being implemented as a cooperative endeavor between The Friends of Pocahontas State Park, represented by Ben Hedges, and the Virginia State Parks District 4 Resource Manager, represented by Irene Frentz. Under the supervision of Irene, Ben will serve as the guide for ongoing working sessions to control invasive plants in Pocahontas State Park.
Working sessions will be available, via registration, most afternoons, both on weekdays and weekends, 1 to 4 PM. These working sessions will not be “one off”, requiring people with conflicting schedules to all be available for an occasional special event. Small teams of just two or a few volunteers will be the norm. Access to Signup Genius for registration is by invitation from Ben. To receive an invitation, send an email request to email@example.com.
The description of IVSquad follows.
Mission: Assist Virginia State Parks District 4 staff in controlling invasive plants on park property.
1. What we will do
2. Who may participate
3. When activities take place
4. Where sessions will be held
5. How we are organized
6. How we operate
In August and September of this year, directed by State Parks Resource Specialist Irene Frentz and Friends of Pocahontas member Ben Hedges, a series of invasive plant control sessions was conducted to remove Japanese Stillgrass from the park. To capitalize on the success of those sessions, Irene and Ben would like to organize an on-going invasive plant control volunteer task force for Pocahontas. These volunteers would continue to help with control of the various invasive plants in the park on a regularly scheduled basis.
A meeting has been scheduled by Irene and Ben at the Heritage Center,on November 9 at 9am, to discuss and define the who, what, how and when parameters for this activity. All current park volunteers who have an interest in helping control invasive plants in the park are invited to participate in this discussion.
Our thanks to the three Capital One volunteers who ventured out in the woods with me today to help remove invasive Shrubby Lespedeza along Fendley Station Loop A. It turned out to be a pleasant afternoon in the park, and almost an ideal day to get some serious exercise. We pulled up at least two dozen plants, plus some Japanese Honeysuckle Vine and one cluster of Multiflora Rose, both of which are also invasive. It will be an easy task next summer to revisit that trail and pull out any missed or resprouting plants.