We have embarked on a long-term project to remove many of the invasive plants on the property, often planted with an intention to add beauty but without recognizing the effect on the ecosystem of replacing native plants. And, in addition to replacing invasive plants, we are also adding plants that are of species native to this area, so that pollinators, butterflies, and other creatures important to the ecosystem will be welcome here.
In this area there was a monoculture of Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna). It’s a low growing plant with pretty yellow flowers, originally from Europe and Asia. In the U.S. it grows invasively, covering lots of ground and pushing out other plants. Hard work by “CREW” (Community Restoration of Ecological Woodlands) members, pulling the plants and laying down cardboard to prevent their return has given this area the potential to have a more diverse mix of native woodland plants.
The CREW team welcomes you to this bit of native northeastern woodland. Working together, we are trying to partner with the rest of nature to help restore balance to this area, (learning from the land) so that the woodland plants can live stably and in balance with their neighbors: bacteria, fungi, and animals (including humans!) Meeting Sunday afternoons, volunteers in the CREW have removed plant species that were spreading uncontrollably, and introduced plants that have lived in this habitat historically.
3 NEWLY PLANTED NATIVE TREES (MULTIPLE LOCATIONS)As part of our efforts to reestablish native plants in this woodland habitat, we have planted three young trees that are typically part of the eastern woodlands: Flowering Dogwood, Eastern Redbud, and Serviceberry. The Flowering Dogwood that you see here is an understory tree, meaning that it doesn’t get very large, but it is a delightful sight when flowering in the spring, in the middle of the dim forest among tall oaks.
4 NATIVE PLANTS FOR CONTAINERS (TOP OF STEPS, MAIN ENTRANCE)
These Snakeroot and Beardtongue plants are an example of the kinds of plants that have lived here for hundreds, or even thousands of years, since the last glacier receded approximately 12,000 years ago! Many folks don’t know the many and beautiful species of plants that live in wild forests. Each plant species makes its own food, holds the landscape from erosion, and provides food in the form of leaves, nectar, and fruits or seeds for many other animals.
5 INVASIVE NON-NATIVE TREES & BUSH REMOVAL (EAST WOODLAND)
CREW members have been removing non-native trees like Norway Maple and shrubs like Burning Bush, that tend to grow invasively here and push out plants that have lived here historically. Working together, we are trying to partner with the rest of nature to help restore balance to this area, so that the woodland plants can live stably and in balance with their neighbors; the bacteria, fungi, and animals (including humans). We have been using a special “weed wrench” to get the whole root of these invasive plants out, so that they won’t return quickly.
We recognize that we are occupying unceded and traditional lands of the Munsee Lenape peoples and the Wappinger peoples. We acknowledge the existence of these peoples, past, present, and future. We also acknowledge the continuing harm of centuries of settler colonialism. While we work to figure out more ways that we can be part of repairing that harm, we are committed to telling the truth about history and the present, and to being good stewards of the land while we are here. The land we are on is within a Special Natural Areas District, and we are committed to the vision of such a district and what it requires of us in stewarding this land. We have also embarked on a long-term project to remove many of the invasive plants on the property, often planted with an intention to add beauty but without recognizing the effect on the ecosystem of replacing native plants. And, with replacing those invasive plants, we are adding more plants that are of species native to this area, so that pollinators, butterflies, and other creatures important to the ecosystem will be welcome here. We are working with others with Plant Native NW Bronx to encourage homeowners, apartment management and dwellers, and others in this area to also participate in this restoration. In 2022, the Board of the Society voted unanimously to support the Friends of Buttonhook project to save the environmentally-sensitive Buttonhook forest land, which also includes land sacred to Native Americans. The land is being sold by the Chappaqua school district. We shared our October 2022 Sunday collections with this project.