AmeriCorps Oak 7 Team Hosts Community Service Day on June 7

AmeriCorps NCCC Oak 7 team helping set up the popular Friends of the Arboretum Native Plant Sale in May.

AmeriCorps NCCC Oak 7 team helping set up the popular Friends of the Arboretum Native Plant Sale in May.

On Sunday, June 7, the AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) Oak 7 team will host a community service day at the Arboretum. The event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and begins with an invasive species removal contest at Wingra Oak Savanna, followed by a celebration and picnic potluck in Wingra Park. Participants should meet at the Arbor Drive parking lot, off Monroe Street, beginning at 9:30 a.m. for registration.

From the Oak 7 team press release about the Community Service Day, beginning at 10 a.m.:

“there will be a brief educational seminar on learning to identify and remove invasive species such as garlic mustard, yellow rocket and dame’s rocket. In addition, volunteers will learn how to recognize and avoid poison ivy and stinging nettles, and check for and remove ticks. After the seminar, participants will be divided into teams lead by NCCC corps members, and then relocate to the Wingra Oak Savanna where the invasive species removal contest takes place. The team that pulls the most at the end of the contest is awarded a mystery box, after which there is a reflection activity, a picnic potluck and games.

Participants are encouraged to wear gardening clothes, bring gloves, water bottles and a dish for picnic potluck (please note there will be no refrigeration or outlets to plug slow cookers into). Also please note that while children are welcome to participate and take advantage of this opportunity to be introduced to ecology, for the safety of the participants and the land children under the age of 11 must be accompanied by an adult.

Through their participation in this event, participants have the opportunity to learn about the detrimental effects of invasive species such as garlic mustard, yellow rocket, and dame’s rocket which disrupts the food chain by being inedible to native insects, upon which many animals rely for food. By helping reclaim the land taken over by invasive species, participants also help to promote biodiversity, which is essential to supporting both human and non-human life.

‘That area is really overgrown and we haven’t had the resources to make reclaiming it practical, so it will be really cool to restore that land and make it beautiful again,’ says Michael Hansen, Land Care Manager at the UW–Madison Arboretum.

The AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) and its FEMA Corps units engage 2,800 young Americans in a full-time, 10-month commitment to service each year. AmeriCorps NCCC members address critical needs related to natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, and urban and rural development; FEMA Corps members are solely dedicated to disaster preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery work. The programs are administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). CNCS is the federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads President’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit www.nationalservice.gov.”

The AmeriCorps NCCC Oak 7 team has been at the Arboretum since April 30 and will wrap up their service here on June 11. Their contribution to land care at the Arboretum is essential, as the 9-person crew provides many hours of labor, enthusiasm, and teamwork working with staff in the gardens and restorations.

For information about the June 7 AmeriCorps Community Service Day, contact Taylor Costa, 413-801-7704 / ncccmediao7@gmail.com; or Marilyn Ponce, 319-529-0579 / mponce@cns.gov.

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