Volunteers got their hands dirty Saturday to prevent dozens of invasive plants from overtaking portions of the Rosemont Preserve, which the community helped procure through donations.
The morning cleanup was the first habitat restoration session for the crew, which began about 10 a.m. and focused on eliminating the poisonous Castor bean plant and the vigorous Arundo plant in the nearly 8-acre open space at Rosemont Avenue.
“As new owners of this land and as a land stewardship conservancy, our goal is provide habitat value, to restore the area to the proper ecological balance and to use that to educate people to bring the community in and to build a community around the things that should be here,” said Roger Klemm, a native-plant expert who volunteered to clean up the space.
Invasive, exotic plants generally don't provide good habitat for the creatures living in the preserve, he said. Removing the plants was essential for allowing native brush to grow, Klemm added.
Barbara Nielsen, a parent volunteer, said she has been working with Mountain Avenue Elementary to include trips and education about the preserve to the third-grade science curriculum.
The community helped raise $97,500 in May to buy the property for educational and recreational use.
The preserve sits at the top of Rosemont Avenue at the mouth of Goss Canyon — an approximately 300-acre, privately owned hillside.
“It's a real prize that we were able to get this land,” said Bambi Leigh Hale of Friends of the Rosemont Preserve.
After acquiring the property, members of the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy, an Altadena-based nonprofit land trust, formed the community-based Friends of the Rosemont Preserve, which will be dedicated to maintaining the property, financially supporting the property and creating educational programs as well as docent-led tours, said Paul Rabinov, a conservancy board member.
“We are taking it one step at a time with the curriculum and the community programs,” he added.
The next restoration day at the preserve is scheduled from 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 9 at the north end of Rosemont Avenue in La Crescenta.
For more information on the restoration day, or for any organizations interested in touring the property, email firstname.lastname@example.org.