Our little forest has been around awhile. Aerials from the thirties show at least some woods around the persistent wetland. As the surrounding area developed over the years our little woods, like many natural areas adjacent to development, became an easy dumping ground. Even after many concerted cleanup efforts (including one that entailed 50 dump truck loads to the landfill over a two week period of time in 1990!) there is still a considerable amount of trash to be found in the Back Woods. Much of this material is buried in sandy mounds in off trail locations, or had been obscured by the recently treated non native invasive vegetation, or is slowly working its way to the surface here and there.
Some of the volunteers during Saturday’s Florida Arbor Day event took to the woods armed with gloves, trash bags, and some serious determination. Part of their haul for the day was some 40 tires that were buried deep in overgrown saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) that had also been covered in invasive air potato (Dioscorea bulbifera) vine.
All though the presence of this junk makes me angry and a little incredulous, I like to channel that frustration into action. A continued concerted methodical effort to clear the Back Woods of trash by staff and volunteers will significantly improve the habitat and aesthetics. The act of cleaning can serve to educate those doing the job and those witness to their efforts about the impact dumping has on our natural resources. If you would like to be a part of that effort please, let me know.