Celebrating the Earth by Improving a Park

There was quite a lot of activity at the Millbridge Triangle on the morning of April 25, 2009 as over thirty four people worked to improve the ecology of the park. Part of the Scottswood Commons, the Millbridge Triangle is found at the south west end of the Commons. Students and parents from the Central School Ecology Club, Central School Brownie Troop #238, other local residents, and the Olmsted Society Landscape Committee all joined in for a morning of mulching and weeding. Almost a dozen piles of mulch were spread. Many Buckthorns were uprooted.

Mr. Mike Collins, the Village Forester, took the time to explain to the parents and students at the workday the negative impact that Buckthorn have on the parks and woods of Riverside. The Buckthorn is from Europe and has no natural predators in North America. Buckthorn leaves form an effective light barrier, making it impossible for plants under it to grow. In the fall the buckthorn berries are a favorite of birds. Unfortunately the seeds survive their trip through the birds and are dispersed far and wide as the birds “release” the seeds. They also grow fast. Eight years of growth rings were found on a three inch diameter tree cut down during the workday. Many of the forests in Cook County have become predominately buckthorn, which kills off not only other plants, but the insects and animals that depend on the other plants to survive.