Leon’s Speech: Green Team in the Emerald Necklace

By Leon

Good evening everyone. My name is Leon Getchell. This has been my second year working with the Green Team.

I believe that the Green Team plays a crucial role in stewarding the Emerald Necklace park system. The work we do is varied; one day we might pull fully grown grape vine (with its Latin name vitis vinifera) and bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), which wrap themselves around trees and literally strangle them so tight to the point where their bodies just dig into the tree. If trees could scream, I don’t think anybody would be able to stand the sound of the pain they’re going through. The next day, we could be in a shrub bed pulling weeds so tiny they’re barely noticeable. We were asked not to remove the Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica), because this requires specialized work.

We work in almost any weather the summer throws at us, with thunder and lightning the only exception. Working outside taking out invasives is not the only thing we did. Once a week we did different activities that let us learn more about nature, each other, and ourselves. A few examples are camping, canoeing, and going to a financial workshop that teaches us about banking and how to take care of our money.

While working with the Green Team, I not only learned the importance of teamwork, but I have come to understand and appreciate the considerable importance of trees as living beings that not just provide homes and food for animals, but keeps entire ecosystems healthy and stable. With the work we’ve been doing, our parks remain clean and welcoming to all.

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