From the Drawing Board…
While it has been quite cold the past several weeks, Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy staff and board members have not been hibernating. On the contrary, we’ve been working hard with the National Park Service planning out our restoration projects for 2015. Highlights include: liberating every native tree in the Park from the chokehold of invasive vines this year, maintaining the restored meadows and Beech Grove, and adding native plants to these restored areas.
Camp in the Winter Woodland
The success of the Dumbarton Oaks Park Winter Camp was largely due to our partnership with the Jelleff Boys and Girls Club, District Department of Parks and Recreation, and Rock Creek Park of the National Park Service. We were able to pool resources to help create a dynamic and well-attended camp. Stay tuned for more updates about the environmental education programs offered through the Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy!
-Alisha Camacho, DOPC Environmental Education Program Coordinator
Volunteer Lens: Nancy Yoshikawa
How were you first introduced to Dumbarton Oaks Park?
What is your favorite feature of the Park?
Invasive Oriental Bittersweet vs. Native Virginia Creeper
With its beautiful, bright red berries, Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), a plant from eastern Asia, has become a staple of our holiday decorations. Unfortunately, this invasive, non-native species is also bringing our native trees to the ground. Dumbarton Oaks Park has several areas where Oriental bittersweet has strangled and toppled native trees.
Volunteers have been working diligently to free the trees of Oriental bittersweet to ensure we do not more of the tree canopy, and you can help too. If you use this plant for holiday decor next Christmas – on the mantle or otherwise – please keep it inside so that birds cannot eat it and then dispose of the seeds in the Park. Also, at the end of the holiday season, bag and place Oriental bittersweet securely in the trashcan, and then tie the trashcan tight, so that the fruit and seeds cannot drop and spread. Thank you for limiting the spread of this plant through our woodland.
A beautiful, non-harmful native vine in the Park that creeps over ground and up the trees is the Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quiquefolia). In autumn, we can depend on a brilliant red show from this vine with its blue fruit. It climbs by suction cups – as opposed to penetrating roots like those of the Oriental bittersweet – and therefore will not damage trees or structures. Its soft green, five-leafed cover is good for fencing and buildings, and the plant itself is an important winter food source for resident birds. Virginia creeper is also the host plant for sphinx moths.
Ann Aldrich, DOPC Restoration Director
– Andrew Wyeth (Painter, 1917 – 2009)