EDWARDSVILLE – The City of Edwardsville in cooperation with HeartLands Conservancy would like to invite the community to participate in a volunteer work day on Saturday, October 20th from 9 am to 12 pm to help with Edwardsville's new nature preserve, William C. Drda Woods.

The 70 acre property that is now William C. Drda Woods was recently acquired by the City through a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation. Part of the terms of the grant includes restoration of the forest which was previously used as farmland.

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According to Mayor Hal Patton, “We are thankful for this opportunity to provide a buffer to the old growth forest in Bohm State Nature Preserve and we look forward to the reforestation of this new property”.

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Volunteers will spend the morning outside helping remove unwanted invasive species like bush honeysuckle which grows very fast and completely shades the forest floor; preventing native plants from sprouting. Assistance will also be needed in cutting up limbs, picking up trash and hauling and piling brush. The City of Edwardsville and HeartLands Conservancy will provide instructions as well as a limited number of tools.

The event is open to all ages including youth groups and scout groups. Even children can help pile up the cut branches! Volunteers should wear sturdy shoes and bring a water bottle. Gloves, long pants, long sleeves, and bug repellent are also recommended. Some tools will be provided, but volunteers are welcome to bring their own work gloves, saws, loppers, and other hand tools. Since this event is open to all ages and experience levels, we ask that volunteers refrain from bringing chainsaws, please. Come and help however long you would like.

According to HeartLands Conservancy President, Mary Vandevord, "HeartLands Conservancy is excited for restoration efforts on the Drda Woods property to begin. Volunteers are tremendous assets in caring for natural areas, and we look forward to building a team of dedicated volunteers for this long-term effort."

William C. Drda Woods is located at 5404 New Poag Road. The entrance road is just before Axis Edwardsville student housing if traveling west from Edwardsville. Signage will be posted at the entrance. For more information, contact the Edwardsville Parks Department at 618-692-7538.

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