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Arbor Day 2024

This event has ended

Betton Hills Neighborhood Association celebrated Arbor Day this year on Saturday, January 27. We had an excellent turnout (43 total) and were pleased to welcome 15 FSU students who volunteered their time through their university club, Environmental Service Program or ESP. They have worked on invasive species removal at McCord Park several times before, but this is the first time they have joined us on Arbor Day.

We started the morning with hot chocolate, Lucky Goat Coffee, and donuts from Duck Donuts (notice the Shop Local emphasis). Lynn Bannister secured the refreshments and stayed at the welcome table to direct latecomers. Vanessa Crisler, who was not able to pitch in physically this year, showed up and helped organize folks into crews and directed latecomers to work groups.

Tom Schulte led a crew to clean out the two wood duck houses and the five bluebird nest boxes. Several of the children joined this team. It is always interesting to see the old nests that are removed. We had noticed wood duck breeding behavior recently on the pond, so it was good to get their nest boxes ready.

Jody Walthall and Richard Crisler and their team attacked invasive vines growing among the trees between the paved trail and the pond, primarily cat’s claw vine (bright yellow flowers). They also removed ligustrum trees, privets, and seedling tallow trees. Cat’s claw vine has become a big problem in our neighborhood and is spreading rapidly in the park. They cut the vines and dug the tubers.

Randy Murrell and Donna Legare organized a team in a naturally maintained bed near the park sign on Trescott. This bed had been hit hard during the downbursts last September. Cat’s claw vine was particularly bad here growing up all the trees with young ones sprouting on the ground. Our team dug and dug those tubers out. There are still more to go – next time!

Kris Ellington led a group of volunteers in the woodland between the paved trail and Thomasville Road where we had previously removed copious amounts of ardisia along with ligustrum, privet, mimosa, Taiwan cherry, loquat, and other invasive plants. This time the focus was on ardisia plants that had sprouted up from berries that were in the “seed bank” on the forest floor.

Mike Brezin and Jim Ward led a group to tend the plantings along Trescott. We did our original Arbor Day in this area and the trees are now quite mature. They removed weeds from the bases of trees and spread pine straw. Their group also planted three native plants – a redbud, a basswood and a Simpson’s stopper.

Mary Kay Falconer and her team tended the previously planted trees and shrubs in the woodland closest to the bat house, pulling vines, weeding, and spreading pine straw. The needle palms in this area are striking in their beauty.

It is amazing to see all that was accomplished in a little more than two hours. We also planted two trees (spruce pine, white oak) in the large Armistead woodland where we had lost several big pines and hardwoods during the downburst.

The City of Tallahassee provided twenty-five bales of pine straw that we spread around previous plantings throughout the park. In addition, the park staff graciously picked up our piles of vegetative debris and bags of ardisia berries and trash.

If you contributed to the Carol Bellamy Fund when you paid your dues, you helped fund these activities. Thank you.

I would also like to thank Michael Bannister and Barb Shoplock for putting up the Arbor Day signs around the neighborhood. Casey McLaughlin posted Arbor Day information to the website, board president Eliza Hawkins sent out email blasts and Mary Kay Falconer made the Facebook announcements. Also, thank you Bob Walker for your diligent care of the saw palmettos (he worked on these on Friday afternoon and during the event!)

Thank you to the following participants (forgive any spelling errors or omissions):

  • Donna Legare and Jody Walthall
  • Mike Brezin
  • Lynn Bannister
  • Jim Ward
  • Mary Kay Falconer
  • Tom Schulte
  • Holly Thomas
  • Vanessa and Richard Crisler
  • Kris Ellington, Ross Ellington
  • Scott Ellington
  • Randy Murrell
  • Tommy Warren
  • Elece Harrison
  • Kat Holton
  • Catherine Rockenstein
  • Kaylee Rockenstein
  • Russell Family
  • Nancy Swardo
  • Anne Longman
  • Dena Raghers, Lilou Weiss, Noor Weiss, Richard Weiss
  • Randi Vicente
  • Eliza Hawkins
  • Sadie Carlson
  • Bob Walker
  • Georgia Allen
  • Nicholos George, ESP
  • Andrew Leikert, ESP
  • Logan Melton, ESP
  • Eisa Khwaja, ESP
  • Ian McCaul, ESP
  • Joelle Nunez, ESP
  • Olivia Seely, ESP
  • Lily Masa, ESP
  • Lore Nix, ESP
  • Justin Sculley, ESP
  • Alex McIntyre, ESP

Original Announcement

Join us for fresh air and good exercise, helping to make our park a better place for both wildlife and people. Some will work on litter cleanup around the pond edges, some will work spreading pine straw at the bases of trees planted at previous Arbor Days, some will clean out the bluebird nest boxes and wood duck house, others will work on invasive plant removal. We will also plant three trees.

We need lots of volunteers this year as we plan to cut cat’s claw vines out of trees around the pond. This will also involve grubbing out the tubers of the cat’s claw. Bring your work gloves, pruners, loppers, and shovels if you have them.

Michael and Lynn Bannister have volunteered to set up the welcome table, complete with hot coffee, hot chocolate, and pastries or doughnuts! Look for the table near the Armistead side of the park where we will meet.

This year FSU students from the ESP Club (Environmental Service Program) will join us. They have volunteered removing ardisia, privet, skunk vine and others at McCord Park over the last few years. This will be their first time attending our Arbor Day event, so let’s give them a good welcome.

Please spread the word and invite your friends and family to volunteer. All ages are welcome! We will meet no matter how cold but will cancel if raining.

See you there!