Brandon Cortés- News Writer
On Friday, Feb. 2, Derek Faulkner from the School of Business, other volunteers and community organizations such as Friends of Beaver Pond and Urban Resources Initiative continued cleaning Beaver Pond.
Chris Ozyck, a volunteer, said that the main work of this cleanup is to take care of the trees since trees are being lost thanks to invasive plants. Invasive plants corner the tree, knock it down and ultimately kill it.
“When there are no trees, there are no food resources for the birds, there is no water quality, and they also accumulate a lot of carbon dioxide,” Ozyck said.
Ozyck stated that the significance of trees extends to their role in carbon sequestration. Trees act as crucial carbon sinks, absorbing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
“We are not only doing this so that everything looks more beautiful but also so that the birds can migrate. Many of our songbirds are migratory and go from South America to the northern forests, and if they find a place this devastated, they will not have sufficient food resources,” Ozyck said.
In the surrounding area, the visible signs of environmental degradation are evident, as many trees are observed in a state of decline due to the presence of invasive plants, improper waste disposal and ongoing pollution. The invasive plants are encroaching on the trees, compromising their vitality and contributing to their deterioration.
Compounding the environmental challenges is the unauthorized use of the area as an illegal dumping site. Some individuals are disposing of their waste in this location, leading to a landscape marred by discarded garbage. This not only detracts from the natural aesthetics but also introduces toxins and pollutants into the soil, adversely affecting the overall health of the ecosystem.
“Much of this cleanup work is being done by volunteers who come and go and organizations like Friends of Beaver Pond,” Ozyck said.
Sandy Shaner, a volunteer, says it is gratifying to see that even young people have come to help clean this area.
“Sometimes, I get involved in these things, so it doesn’t hurt to come help. The young people are the ones who need this space since they are our future,” Shaner said.
Thankfully, Faulkner said that they have gotten the city to agree to put up fences to prevent people from using the space as an illegal dumping site.
“The problem is that a lot of that garbage will end up in the pond, and that is what we want to prevent. Long term, I would love to talk to the city about providing chairs, benches and signs to prevent littering and raise awareness about the importance of this body of water that is Beaver Pond,” Faulkner said.