Clearing out tangled underbrush, vines, and invasive plants, about 20 volunteers from Bristol-Myers Squibb recently helped beautify the entrance into The Watershed Institute.
The Molecular Discovery Technologies team, which is currently located across from the Watershed on Titus Mill Road in Hopewell Township, wanted to be good neighbors.
“This turns out to be a good team-building event as well as a contribution to the community,” said Sonia Rosas, an executive associate at BMS.
The volunteers were like human buzz saws removing the brush. Multiflora rose, grape vines, Japanese honeysuckle, privet, and other invasive plants strangle trees and crowd out desirable native plants, said the Watershed’s Stewardship Coordinator Allison Jackson.
This spring, Watershed staff will plant river oats, Canadian anemone, great blue lobelia and soft rush. These native plants spread quickly and will outcompete the Japanese stilt grass that has encroached on the area, said Stormwater Specialist Kory Kreiseder.
Volunteer Max Ruzanov selected the Watershed for the BMS group because it reminded him of a place in Toronto where he used to volunteer. “We don’t normally have an opportunity for working outside in the fresh air for a community-based center in a beautiful location.”
Debbie Loughney said she joined in this activity because “it’s the right thing to do and it is great to help out. This group likes to find community service projects and this one was local and outside.”
Volunteer Coordinator Eve Niedergang said this group is one of about a dozen corporate groups who volunteer at the Watershed, augmenting the school groups and individual volunteers.
“We get many calls around Earth Day when the corporate groups will come here to do team building, get out of the office and make a contribution,” she said. “It is always amazing to me that many individuals are visiting the Watershed for the first time, even from corporations that send groups to us each year.”