November has been a busy month for us at Fort Vancouver!  In addition to our tabling at two farmers markets, hosting a lantern tour, and preparation for Christmas at the Fort, we have setup and hosted a large invasive blackberry removal party along our waterfront with SOLVE, and in the process of developing a partnership with them!

Our Blackberry removal party happened on Saturday, November 19th, and drew a crowd of 15 dedicated volunteers.  Once all our volunteers were signed in, our Chief Park Ranger Dr. Bob Cromwell introduced our volunteers to our site with a little history life with the Hudson Bay Company.  Impressive shears and gloves were then passed out and our volunteers were guided to their work site. After four hours of lopping and chopping away, our party cut over 1,000 pounds of blackberry.

15219617_10210218705217347_2161696001765910974_n.jpgFort Vancouver park ranger Dr. Bob Cromwell jumping in the fray clipping away at Himalayan Blackberry.

But we weren’t finished.  Loading the blackberry in the truck proved challenging, but luckily one of our volunteers came up with a fun and ingenious solution.  We spread out a large ground tarp, loaded it with blackberry thorns, wrapped it up in a burrito, and proceeded to stomp on it, effectively compressing the blackberry to better fit in the truck.  Loading the approximately 300 lb burrito of blackberry into the truck bed was then an arduous six person process.

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The tenacity of our volunteers was inspiring, working hard to cut down this stubborn and spiky medusa-like plant down to size.  They powered through like champs, and the result of their work is that our park has a more beautiful and ecologically sustainable waterfront.

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For those interested in our project we will be continuing their efforts on Saturday, January 21st, for MLK Day of Service, and sign-up can be done through this link: http://www.solveoregon.org/get-involved/events/fort-vancouver-riverside-invasive-removal

Our next event with honor Dr. King’s message of “A day on, not a day off!”