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Invaders In Rock Creek Park

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English Ivy can be nice when under control, but it can escape into the wild, smothering trees and native plants.
Sabri Ben-Achour
English Ivy can be nice when under control, but it can escape into the wild, smothering trees and native plants.

By Sabri Ben-Achour

Rock Creek Park is crawling with invasive plant species from all over the world. A group of volunteers is trying to stamp out at least one.

Blake Herrendeen is a junior at the British School of Washington. She is with dozens of other volunteers in Rock Creek Park tearing down ivy from tree trunks and hillsides.

"As you can see over there, on the top of the canopy, the ivy just keeps growing and growing," says Herrendeen.

The vine smothers native plants.

Ken Ferrebee is a biologist with Rock Creek Park, he says English Ivy is one of many invasive species.

"Overall it's a big problem for the park - garlic mustard, there's porcelain berry, there's probably a list of 40 or 50 that the park has created of just aggressive invasive plants," says Ferrebee.

Just like the ivy, the plants out-compete or smother native plants. Beth Mullen is with Friends of Rock Creek's Environment, she organizes volunteer weed fighters throughout the year.

"Our goal is to rid Rock Creek of ivy within the next few years if we can," says Mullen.

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