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Enjoying These Views? Thank Our Volunteer Teams

As if they haven’t made enough dramatic improvements already this season, volunteers were back along the river bank today planting 270 flowering perennials that will hopefully provide more color in the years to come.

“This will just be a premier area of the park once they start going,” said volunteer coordinator Andrew Morse.

It’s the final event in a season that’s seen volunteers take out vast sections of invasive buckthorn and vines that were choking out native species and blocking views of the river. Volunteer crews also made huge improvements to the playground area with new plants and mulch.

And with help from Friends of the Mississippi River and other organizations, 160 native trees were planted in the park this summer.

“We’ve opened up great vistas and breezeways,” said Morse, “making the park safer and more accessible and also with better views of the river.”

The 1,000+ black bags you see covering stumps along the riverbank are there to keep the invasive buckthorn from growing back. And all those white tubes you’ve noticed are protecting the new native trees.

To keep the young trees watered, Bri Sharkey-Smith and her friend, Sarah Holland, came up with an ingenious setup, hooking up a car battery to a 12-volt pump and 20 feet of hose along the river to get water into their buckets to carry over to the nearby trees.

Sharkey-Smith said the idea came after “a little bit of wine and brainstorming with Sarah and my dad.”

The flowering plants that went in today were provided by Friends of the Mississippi River. They were originally scheduled for another project but it fell through. And since the North Loop has demonstrated the ability to get groups of volunteers together, they ended up here along our shoreline.

A nice way to wrap up a very productive season!

By Mike Binkley, North Loop volunteer

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