By Ethan Hogan
The Stewardship Network along with Stephen Eisenhaure, the manager of woodlands natural areas, organized a Buckthorn pull in College Woods on Wednesday from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m.
Eisenhaure explained that Buckthorn is an invasive species, meaning that it is not native to our area and actually harms the ecosystem. Buckthorn out-competes native plants for essential nutrients and can take over a large area. Buckthorn grows in tall thin stocks and has to be removed at its root.
“I arrange the tools,” said Eisenhaure while pointing at the giant weed wrenches the volunteers were using to pull out the roots.
The Stewardship Network, which organizes volunteers to assist with woodland projects, supplied Eisenhaure with the muscles. Twenty or so volunteers who heard about the event through The Stewardship Network showed up to helped uproot the Buckthorn.
Malin Clyde, the project manager at the stewardship network explained how useful College Woods is to students who are learning about the environment.
“It’s a real special natural community,” said Clyde.
The woods are a great example of an area rich with Hemlock-Hardwood-Pine, explained Clyde. To Clyde and many others interested in the environment, College Woods is the perfect place to study.
Clyde said volunteers had “run through College Woods, but didn’t know what it took to take care of it,” adding that the Buckthorn pull is “a great way to spend a few hours outdoors.”
Volunteers used the weed wrenches to grip the Buckthorn at its base, then used their body weight to pry the roots out of the ground. The task took some wiggling and force but everyone was able to uproot their fair share of Buckthorn.
After getting the Buckthorn out of the ground, volunteers would throw the plants onto a pile. Cookies, brownies and water were available for everyone.
Also there to help out were members of Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed fraternity on campus.
“We do a variety of different community service events,” said Jordyn Tetler while gripping one of the giant weed wrench tools. Tetler explained that their fraternity didn’t specialize in environmental conservation, but said they were having fun outdoors.
“We want to help out our community,” added Amanda Zamis, also an Alpha Phi Omega member.
The Stewardship Network has been organizing the Buckthorn pull for several years now, and the progress is easy to see. Just off one of the main trails you can see piles of sticks spread across a large wooded area. Those are piles of Buckthorn that have been pulled out and are now naturally decomposing into the ground.
Alyssa Aligata, a senior environmental engineering major, has been coming to the Buckthorn all four years she’s been at UNH.
“We cleared all that out,” said Aligata pointing at the open area with the sticks piled high.” She added.
“(The Buckthorn was so thick) we wouldn’t be able to get back here before.”
Aligata was helping Alex Moody, a freshman, find more Buckthorn to pull
“He’s my mentee,” said Aligata.
“It’s a new experience and I’m having a great time,” Moody said.