Celebrate Trails Day on the OCA in Irvington & Help Create a Pollinator Garden

Blue Mountain Mint is among the pollinator plants that will be planted on the OCA. (Photo: Peter Strom)

The Irvington Green Policy Task Force (GPTF) in collaboration with the Village of Irvington, the Pollinator Pathway Project, the O’Hara Nature Center, Irvington Estates, the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct are pleased to invite the public to join in an Earth Day weekend activity. This community event was developed to help revitalize and beautify our local environment. Volunteers will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities on the Old Croton Aqueduct (OCA) including removal of non-native invasive plants (lop, pull & dig them up); creation of a pollinator garden led by an expert on native plants; and a litter cleanup.

Saturday, April 23, 2022
1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Along the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail in Irvington, NY between Main Street and West Clinton Avenue.

Interested volunteers should register here: https://forms.gle/rqLG12WNHewYSGct5

Non-native invasive plants upset the natural balance in an ecosystem. They crowd out native species, thus causing declines in the wildlife that depends on native plants. They also often serve as carriers for diseases that attack native species. They change soil chemistry and hydrology.

Native plants form the foundation of the food chain in the natural world. Most insects are adapted to eat three or fewer species of plants, and when the species change, there are fewer insects and less nutrition for pollinators. By removing non-native invasive species and planting native plants, we will help restore indigenous flora and fauna. For example, invasive non-native vines such as English Ivy and Oriental Bittersweet add significant weight, which cause mature trees to fall down in storms and strong winds. The vines also block sunlight from the trees’ leaves or needles, and they compete with the tree for nutrients and water. Freeing trees of these vines will allow them to thrive again and keep doing the critical work of capturing carbon dioxide.

Blue Ice Hybrid Bluestar is among the pollinator plants that will be planted on the OCA. (Photo: Peter Strom)

The pollinator garden on the OCA along the wall of Irvington Estates will provide crucial food and habitat for bees, butterflies, birds, and wildlife. We are hoping for several local Girl or Boy Scout troops, and groups of students to help to maintain the garden long-term. This will be a wonderful educational experience for them. The native plants were carefully selected to be deer-resistant since the deer often frequent the OCA. The flowering perennials to be featured in the garden are Blue Ice Bluestar, Bluestem Goldenrod, Blunt Mountain Mint, Butterfly Weed, Cardinal Flower, Foxglove Beardtongue, Heath Aster, Robin’s Plantain, White Wood Aster, and Woodland Pinkroot. The plants will offer colorful blossoms and produce abundant pollen, nectar, and seeds throughout the year. We hope that this garden will inspire local residents to add native plants to their gardens after recognizing the opportunity to provide beauty with purpose.  Moreover, landowners adjacent to the OCA can obtain permits to create pollinator gardens as an extension of their own property. This program is run by Chet Kerr of Irvington, Haven Colgate of Hastings, and Steve Oakes, who is the site manager of the Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park.

Father and son volunteers cliipping on the OCA (Photo: Adriana Curibus

Volunteers on April 23 will also help clean up litter which will be handled according to the items (we will separate recyclables).  Every piece of trash that will be taken away will mean one less dangerous item for wildlife to swallow or get tangled in. Cleanups also help to restore nature for animals and people.

Let’s help rejuvenate degraded landscapes back into thriving wildlife habitat!




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