Protecting America's First Urban National Park from English Ivy: A Corps Network Day of Service Project

Photo by Trail Force on Flickr

As part of The Corps Network’s second annual Day of Service in the Nation’s Capital, participants will take on a service project in the Rock Creek Park. Established as the third U.S. national park in 1890, this year the park celebrates its 125th anniversary. Beloved by Washingtonians, the park traverses over 1754 acres and abutts the National Zoo and features winding paths, lush forests, and beautiful bridges.

English Ivy (shown in a National Park Service photo to the right) is an invasive plant species and poses a threat to the integrity of the park's ecosystem. The ivy plants can reach a length of over 100 feet and can invade woodlands, fields, and other upland areas. This means they can grow along the ground where they can disrupt the lifecycle of understory species. Ivy plants are also capable of growing up into the tree canopy and branches, which kills the trees slowly.

The Service project will mobilize volunteers to help deter the growth of this overwhelming invasive plant. By helping to save the trees and understory species of the park, it will preserve the natural beauty of the park and the benefits it provides to Washington, such as helping to clean the water and air.

Interesting Fun Facts about Rock Creek Park:

  • Three kinds of Owl’s make their homes in Rock Creek Park: the great horned owl, the barred owl and the little screech owl.
  • Rock Creek Park is the only park in the National Park System with a planetarium. It was built in 1960 and is located in the Rock Creek Park Nature Center at 5200 Glover Rd., NW, Washington, DC

You can learn more about Rock Creek Park on the National Park Service's website.