We are coming up on our second year anniversary! We have accomplished much in the past two years but have a long way to go to fulfill our mission of a restored and biodiverse nature park.
There are many signs of a returning balance to the park’s ecology. Where wisteria once created a mono-culture, native plants are now returning. This year we were thrilled to find some Jack In The Pulpits had returned to a field where they once proliferated! This native plant provides pollen for bees and berries for birds.
You can also find a grove of American Burnweed, a native herb. This native takes its name from the fact that it often grows in areas that have been burned. It can grow 2’ to 10’ tall and produces a cluster of small flowers that attract pollinators.
The garden by the dam that we planted is sprouting partridge pea and smallspike false nettle. These native plants are in an area once inhabited solely by invasive mugwort.
Walking through the park, I spotted so many more native plants. American pokeweed is popping up. It produces purple-black berries in the late summer/fall that sustain birds. There is a stand of Carolina allspice bushes just up from the dam, and deerberry (a species of blueberry) are spreading in the forest understory.
With invasive plants coming under control, it seems our native plants are breathing a sigh of relief. Trees that were slowly being strangled by wisteria vines are now able to grow freely. I am personally proud of a particular cherry tree. Once uprooted and brought down by thick wisteria vines, it has found new life. We freed it from the vines that engulfed its trunk, and its will to survive took over! Though its root ball is partially exposed and its trunk is horizontal to the ground, its branches are reaching up to grow into new trees! Have you seen this wonder of nature?
This year we greatly improved trail accessibility by doing some stone dust maintenance on the pond loop. Heavy rain has rutted some areas, and we are hoping to do some spot maintenance. We are also looking at solutions to hillside erosion problems.
While we are thrilled with these successes, we are not yet satisfied. Our hope is that park visitors will be inspired by this rebirth.
Because we would love to see more people experiencing the serenity found in nature and more children exploring the park, we are working hard to raise awareness about the park. We offer children’s programs, Plein Air painting, and history tours. FOBP sponsors Earth Day, Halloween Trunk or Treat, Read Across America, and clean up days in the park. We are also cultivating relationships with students and teachers to help them see Brightwood as a resource. We look forward to encouraging environmental preservation amongst scouts and others who seek to fulfill service requirements.
We have come together with a common purpose – to protect and preserve Brightwood Park. Our shared vision has brought us together as friends and collaborators. Covid prevented us from gathering socially before, but we see a future where the “Friends” of Brightwood Park have real opportunities to share “friendship.” As a call for action, we invite you to join our Social Committee or at least to join us at an upcoming social event!
As you can see, we are a dedicated and energetic group. We welcome all who would like to join us as we forge a future for the park and those who visit it.
Here's hoping this Jack-In-The-Pulpit's seeds find fertile ground!
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John Linderman, Tom Mann, Nicole Chartrain, Denise Ricci
Brightwood Park is on the North end of Prospect Street. Go past Franklin School and look for the entrance on the left.