We have about a mile walk along our rocky coast, a stunning walk that draws thousands each year. Much has changed along that pathway since it was donated to the town in 1925, including lots of invasive plants such as Virginia creeper, bittersweet and especially Black Swallow Wort, that smother and strangle our native Maine plants along the path.
One morning last week, a small group of volunteers, some who live here, some who live nearby and even a few on vacation, removed as much of the Black Swallow Wort as they could before its pods release its milkweed like seeds and cover even more area with this invasive vine. They tore out the slender vines wrapping around other plants and bushes and especially the small pea like pods that hold its seeds.
Black Swallow Wort, introduced to a Massachusetts North Shore garden about 150 years ago from Eastern Europe, is a danger to Monarch butterflies, since it is in the same family as milkweed, a plant where Monarchs lay their eggs. But when these Monarch eggs turn into caterpillars, they starve and die on the Black Swallow Wort.
This hardy band of volunteers loves and is proud of our Marginal Way and wants it to continue to be part of the ‘beautiful place by the sea.’ When they had finished after about three hours of hard work cutting and pulling out Black Swallow Wort vines, they had removed about 900 pounds of the stuff!
And their work was made harder by hundreds of people enjoying this walk by the ocean and more runners than I have ever seen, dodging children, strollers, family groups and the workers, pounding their way past on this narrow path, being a danger to all.
Are you proud of your town or a place you love to visit? If so, why not pitch in and make it even beautiful ?