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Volunteers Needed at Piasa Bird Park

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Article by: Jen Young, NGRREC/L&C Marketing and PR, jenryoung@lc.edu

EAST ALTON, IL – Volunteers are needed to help to remove bush honeysuckle at Piasa Bird Park in Alton, Illinois from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Thursday, March 24. Free lunch and necessary tools will be provided to volunteers.

The volunteer day is being hosted by the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRRECSM) in partnership with the Lewis and Clark Community College Restoration Ecology program, the Three Rivers Project of Sierra Club Illinois and the City of Alton. This project is supported by Trees Forever.

Normally a spot to enjoy the river, experience local wildlife and learn the history of the legendary Piasa Bird, Piasa Bird Park is currently overrun with bush honeysuckle, an invasive plant species that hinders the growth of native trees and shrubs. 

“Participants will learn about habitat restoration efforts taking place in the local community,” Director of Environmental Education Sarah Fisher said. “Cleaning up the Piasa Park and surrounding areas will give more attention to such an important historical landmark in our region.”

Bush honeysuckle impacts many forested areas throughout Illinois. This event will give landowners a chance to join the NGRREC team and learn how to identify and safely remove this invasive species.   

“The work being done at this event will clear out the overgrown wooded area so native trees can be planted in the near future,” said Christine Favilla, Three Rivers Project co-coordinator.

This is just one of the many projects being funded through a Trees Forever grant NGRREC received earlier this year. Native tree species will also be planted at Riverfront Park and along the Broadway Corridor.

Volunteers of all ages are welcome and volunteers do not need to be present for the entire event. People are welcome to come and go as needed. Lunch will be provided by the Three Rivers Project of Sierra Club Illinois for all volunteers.   

Participants should be mindful that this area can be muddy in the spring, and should dress accordingly.

Registration for this event is recommended to ensure there is enough lunch and tools for all participants. Register today at https://conta.cc/3sO5BON.

For more information Fisher at saafisher@lc.edu or (618) 468-2783.

National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC)

Founded in 2002 as a collaborative partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Lewis and Clark Community College, NGRREC is dedicated to the study of great river systems and the communities that use them. The center aspires to be a leader in scholarly research, education, and outreach related to the interconnectedness of large rivers, their floodplains, watersheds, and their associated communities.